Strategy to protect workers from silicosis


Tuesday, 25 February, 2020

Strategy to protect workers from silicosis

Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson has unveiled a plan to reduce cases of silicosis, a lung disease caused by ingesting harmful dust when dry cutting manufactured stone. The plan introduces a Silicosis Health Register and on-the-spot fines for those who engage in unsafe dry-cutting practices.

“Dry cutting is an offence and, for those who choose to ignore the law and put their employees at risk, SafeWork NSW inspectors will issue tough new fines for noncompliance. Wet cutting prevents dust from escaping into the air and could significantly reduce the number of silicosis cases in NSW. To help purchase new equipment, the NSW Government will offer rebates of up to $1000 to manufactured stone businesses until 30 June,” said Anderson.

The NSW Government will make silicosis a notifiable disease, with a Silicosis Health Register to enable SafeWork NSW to track and investigate workplaces of those diagnosed with the disease, in order to determine the source of the unsafe work practice that led to the disease.

“To protect workers from the dangers of silica dust we need more oversight of diagnosed silicosis cases, which is why it will now be a notifiable disease with all cases listed on a single register,” said Anderson.

The NSW Government previously introduced a new silica workplace exposure standard of 0.05 mg/m3, which will come into effect in NSW from 1 July 2020.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Aaron Amat

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