The Queensland Government is focusing on mine safety and protection of the Great Barrier Reef in its natural resources, mines and energy budget this year.
Safe Work Australia is expected to recommend that the regulated occupational exposure limits for respirable dust be slashed.
Dust particles may be small, but they can cause big problems for the health and safety of workers at mines, quarries, landfills, ports, and in construction and demolition. Engineering controls and education are needed to make sure workers stay safe.
Miners suffer from an increased decline in lung function every year compared to the general population, despite measured concentrates of dust and gases such as silica and diesel exhaust at below occupational standards.
There’s a way to avoid being harmed by mine dust including crystalline silica on the east coast and asbestos fibres on the west coast. Breathesafe director Nicholas Johnstone tells Safe to Work about the solution.
A dust diseases clinic is now open on Pitt Street to provide medical access for NSW workers impacted by exposure to hazardous materials such as asbestos and silica.