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Silica Health Surveillance

Silica health surveillance for any worker exposed to silica dust at work is a minimum requirement for employers. This has been reiterated by WorkSafe WA this week when announcing their latest inspection program looking at safety and health in stone bench top fabricators.

Onsite health assessments

Work Health Professionals will help you manage your WorkSafe health surveillance program. We also keep it easy and more cost-effective by coming to your workplace to provide onsite health surveillance for silica exposure.

Work Health Professionals has been working closely with WorkSafe WA to ensure employers are meeting their requirements when providing all elements of health surveillance for their workers.

We can also provide air monitoring to help you assess the level of silica dust exposure in your workplace.

Minimum requirements when working with silica

The minimum requirements include:

  • wet cutting
  • wearing a comprehensive respiratory protection system, and
  • ensuring employers provide silica health surveillance for any worker exposed to silica dust as part of their work activities.

See the new Guidance Note issued late 2018 by the Commission for Occupational Safety and Health – “Safe stone product fabrication and installation” – that covers how to control exposure to silica dust during fabrication of stone benchtops or similar stone products, and the health effects of breathing this dust.

WA Silicosis cases

“WA has recorded two confirmed cases of silicosis in workers in the stone fabrication industry so far, but the numbers are much higher in other States,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“So far in the program this year, inspectors have visited 26 workplaces and issued a total of 216 improvement notices. The majority of improvement notices were for dust management and health surveillance on silica dust in the workplace.”

During the inspection program, inspectors are focusing on whether the hazard of silica dust is being adequately managed by assessing the risk and ensuring that workers are kept safe.

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