Several New South Wales mines and petroleum sites are ruled out of the new respirable crystalline silica exposure standard due to a class exemption by Safe Work.
Work health and safety ministers have agreed to reduce the workplace exposure standards for respirable crystalline silica as soon as practicable.
The New South Wales Resources Regulator is urging current and former coal mine workers to maintain regular health screening after investigating a former coal mine worker diagnosed with a mixed dust disease in 2017.
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.
The Morrison Government is set to invest $5 million in response to the increasing cases of accelerated silicosis ahead of the federal election.
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.
Significant reductions in respirable dust levels have been recorded in Queensland’s coal mining industry, according to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME).