Health Risk Warning: Is Silica the new Asbestos?

Dec 10, 2019

A Queensland Government audit of 10 workplaces found 26 employees suffering from silicosis, six of whom considered terminal.

One sufferer only 27 years old!

Silicosis is a form of occupational lung disease caused by the inhalation of construction dust, known as crystalline silica. Crystalline silica dust is formed when materials are worked on (such as cutting, drilling or blasting) releasing the fine dust, silica, into the air. The dust can be found in the following substances;

  • Stone
  • Rock
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Clay
  • Bricks
  • Tiles
  • Concrete
  • Stone benchtops
  • Some plastic materials

Those at greater risk of exposure are:

  • Miners
  • Construction workers
  • Farmers
  • Engineers

According to ABC News, by Michael Atikin, this could be the largest occupational lung crisis we’ve seen since the peak of the asbestos epidemic seen in the 1970’s.

Inhaling crystalline silica can lead to silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can result in disability and/or death. However, adequate controls and health monitoring can reduce this risk and allow employees to work with Silica in a safe manner. In accordance with Work Safe Australia, managing exposure is key in preventing long term occupational health risks to employees. To prevent potential risk exposure, health monitoring must be provided to all workers who are carrying out work on the above substances.

Occuhealth can perform the following services;

  • Workplace risk assessment
  • Exposure control programs
  • Exposure monitoring
  • Respiratory protection programs
  • Health risk assessments
  • Silica medical assessments in accordance with Safe Work Australia
  • And much more

Contact our professional team at Occuhealth for more information on how we can help you. Available at: MANDURAH | BELMONT | ON-SITE

Call today:
P: +61 8 9537 5700
E: [email protected]

ABC News, Terminal Silicosis – six cases in three weeks prompts urgent government warning to workers
ABC News, The biggest lung disease crisis since asbestos:
Cancer Council
Safe work Australia, Hazardous chemicals requiring health monitoring

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