NSW commences real-time silica monitoring trial

New South Wales is trialling a technology to accurately monitor silica dust levels in the air following a tightened exposure standard this year.

Now capped at 0.05 milligrams per cubic metre, the New South Wales Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said the government was on a mission to stamp out silicosis in the state.

“This groundbreaking device allows us, for the first time, to monitor exposure levels in real-time ensuring workers can remove themselves from harmful exposure before it’s too late,” Anderson said.

It follows a series of other government actions in tackling dust diseases, including making silicosis a notifiable disease and establishing a dust diseases register, which will track and respond to deadly dust diseases, including asbestosis and silicosis.

The New South Wales Dust Strategy 2020-22 seeks to coordinate SafeWork New South Wales’ widespread exposure prevention activities to ensure consistent application of the controls and best practice principles across worksites.

“We’ve consulted widely with unions, employers’ associations and the building and construction sector to develop a robust and practical strategy and look forward to working with industry to implement these principles and end dust diseases for good,” Anderson concluded.