Lung disease campaign to identify workplace hazards

Safe Work Australia has launched an occupational lung disease awareness campaign which will run until December 2021.

Occupational lung diseases are conditions of the respiratory system caused by workplace exposure to hazardous chemicals and dusts.

Safe Work Australia chief executive officer Michelle Baxter said the Clean Air Clear Lungs campaign will help raise awareness about the risk of occupational lung disease.

“Occupational lung disease continues to be a major work health and safety concern in Australia,” she said.

“The Occupational lung diseases in Australia 2006-2019 report highlighted a substantial increase in coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, as well as silicosis from working with engineered stone.”

The national campaign seeks to educate persons conducting a business on how to eliminate and manage the risks of their workers developing an occupational lung disease.

“Not all hazards in the workplace are visible. Dusts, gases, fumes, or vapours can be invisible to the naked eye but can cause serious lung diseases”, Baxter said.

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

The campaign includes information on how to identify and assess these hazards, how to manage and control risks and how to monitor your workplace.

The four key industries most at risk of occupational lung diseases are targeted including manufacturing, construction, agricultural and engineering stone workers.

In June, Cancer Council Australia launched a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of exposure to silica dust.

Long-term exposure to silica dust can cause fatal lung disease including silicosis and lung cancer with miners, construction workers, farmers and engineers most at risk.

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