Sunday, November 28, 2021

New guide for managing risk of silica dust

Safe Work Australia has published new guidance on how to manage the risks to workers’ health from hazardous silica dust contained in engineered stone.  

Safe Work Australia Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Baxter said the publication of the model Code of Practice: Managing the risks of respirable crystalline silica from engineered stone in the workplace plays an important role in stopping workers developing silicosis.

“Silicosis is a serious lung disease that can be fatal. All workers have the right to a healthy and safe working environment and no workplace death or injury is acceptable,” Ms Baxter said.

“Occupational lung disease and silicosis continues to be a major work health and safety concern in Australia.

“The Occupational lung diseases in Australia 2006-2019 report highlighted a substantial increase in silicosis in those who work with engineered stone.”

The model Code aims to help persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) understand their specific WHS duties for working with engineered stone and provides information about how to protect their workers from exposure to silica dust.

“Not all hazards in the workplace are visible. Silica dust from engineered stone can be invisible to the naked eye but can cause serious lung disease,” said Ms Baxter.

“It’s incredibly important to know what hazards exist in your workplace and how to eliminate or manage them.”

The model Code of Practice: Managing the risks of respirable crystalline silica from engineered stone in the workplace is available on the Safe Work Australia website.

The model Code of Practice has been agreed by Safe Work Australia Members and all ministers with responsibility for work, health and safety.

To have legal effect in a jurisdiction, the model Code of Practice must be approved as a code of practice in that jurisdiction. To determine if this model Code of Practice has been approved as a code of practice in a particular jurisdiction, check with your WHS regulator.

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