Sam Hamilton, Director Occupational Diseases and Hygiene Policy presenting to the Australasian University Safety Association.
Silica dust is generated in workplace processes such as crushing, cutting, drilling, grinding, sanding, sawing or polishing of natural stone or man-made silica containing products. Silica dust can be generated and found:
- during manufacturing and construction
- when mining or tunnelling
- in waste or sand-based products, and
- in materials brought to your workplace.
Some dust particles can be so small that they are not visible; these are referred to as respirable particles. Respirable silica dust particles are those that are small enough to breathe in and penetrate deep into the lungs causing permanent damage that can lead to serious illness or death. Silica dust is also linked to the development of auto-immune disorders and chronic renal (kidney) disease.
Learn about silica dust on our Identifying the hazard of silica dust webpage.
SWA is not a regulator and cannot advise you about managing risks in your workplace. If you need help, please contact your state or territory work health and safety authority.