Nanotechnology and Work Health and Safety

Nanotechnology image - Coutesy of CSIRO

Nanotechnology is the precision-engineering of materials at the nanoscale, i.e. in the size range of approximately 10-9 to 10-7 metres, at which point unique or enhanced properties occur. These properties have led to the development of new and enhanced products, procedures and processes, and many valuable uses of enabling nanotechnologies have already been identified.

It has also been acknowledged that the unique properties associated with engineered nanomaterials may give rise to health and safety concerns in some circumstances. Accordingly, Safe Work Australia is providing policy direction, conducting research and providing guidance on the potential work safety and health implications from applications of nanotechnology.

About Safe Work Australia’s Nanotechnology work

The work is Australia-focused, and also contributes to global efforts on nanotechnology work health and safety.

Focus Areas

  1. Ensure nanotechnology is covered appropriately within the Work Health and Safety Regulatory Framework
  2. Improve understanding of the hazardous properties of engineered nanomaterials
  3. Assess the effectiveness of workplace controls in preventing exposure to engineered nanomaterials
  4. Develop procedures for detecting and measuring emissions exposure in workplaces
  5. Provide information and guidance for Australian nanotechnology organizations
  6. Ensure consistency with international approaches & contributing to international work

This work is supported by Safe Work Australia’s Nanotechnology Work Health & Safety Expert Working Group and the Nanotechnology Work Health & Safety Measurement Reference Group.

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