Silica dust is a work health and safety hazard. It is produced when materials or products containing silica such as stone, bricks, concrete or tiles are cut, drilled, polished or ground.
Particles of silica dust are so small you may not know you are breathing them in, but they can lodge deep into your lungs and cause permanent lung damage, including serious and fatal diseases such as silicosis and lung cancer.
Workers in construction, manufacturing, tunnelling, demolition, mining, quarrying and stonemasonry can be exposed to silica dust at work.
Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) have a legal duty to protect workers by managing the health and safety risks from silica dust.
Workers also have a legal duty to take reasonable care of their own, and others, health and safety at work.
Safe Work Australia has launched a new phase of the Clean Air. Clear Lungs. occupational lung diseases campaign to improve understanding of the hazards of silica dust and duties under work health and safety laws to manage the risks. This includes how to identify hazards and eliminate or minimise the risk of exposure in the workplace. Key WHS information will be available in English, Chinese, Arabic, Hazargi, Vietnamese and Korean.
To find out more about workplace exposure to silica dust and download resources, go to Safe Work Australia’s Clean Air. Clear Lungs. web page: swa.gov.au/clearlungs