WA have joined QLD in recently halving the amount of silica and coal dust employees should be exposed to in the workplace. This decision comes as silica and coal dust becomes a hot topic for workplace safety after cases of coal dust causing coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung disease.

The decision to reduce the exposure limit of respirable crystalline silica of 0.1 milligrams per cubic meter to 0.05 milligrams per cubic meter and respirable coal dust exposure halved to 1.5 milligrams follows Queensland regulations after they recorded deaths of underground coal mine workers due to black lung disease.

These preventative measures are a positive step forward to protecting those who work in an environment where silica or coal dust is present.

Respirable crystalline silica can be generated by a range of work activities including:

  • Fabrication and installation of composite (engineered or manufactured) stone countertops;
  • Brick, concrete or stone cutting (angle grinding, jackhammering and chiseling);
  • Excavation, tunneling, earthmoving and drilling operations;
  • Mining, quarrying and mineral ore treatment processes;
  • Clay and stone processing machine operations;
  • Paving and surfacing; and
  • Abrasive blasting and foundry casting.

Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said, “Silicosis is an emerging workplace health issue; early intervention is the only solution to managing these risks.

“The changes in exposure standards are a win for workers, particularly in the stone benchtop industry, who now have the right to extra preventative measures for silicosis.

"WorkSafe's inspection program has looked at more than 100 workplaces to ensure employers are aware of the risks from silica and their responsibilities under workplace safety laws.

"The McGowan Government takes prevention and early detection very seriously and is taking steps to minimise these risks. Employers must ensure the new limits are not exceeded.”

Monitoring levels of silica and coal dust is extremely important in understanding whether your workforce is being exposed to harmful levels and exceeding the new recommended limits.

At AES offer several dust monitoring equipment solutions including the latest technology which can simultaneously monitor multiple particle sizes. This feature ensures you’re monitoring all parameters of dust, at the same time providing real-time results that can be actioned immediately. 

Talk to us about our Trolex Air XD dust monitor - how it can help your operation be compliant and keep your workers safe.



Referenced: https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/10/Workplace-exposure-standards-for-silica-and-coal-dust-halved.aspx