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  • Writer's pictureThe Local Times

Breaking the Silence on Silica Dust

The Queensland Government has taken a bold step in protecting workers in the construction and housing industry from the dangers of silica dust.

The Government's Australian-first Code of Practice for managing the risk of silica dust in construction and manufacturing came into effect last month, setting a new standard for workplace safety.

We want all workers to come home safely at the end of each day and be protected from deadly risks in the workplace.

Chris Whiting MP, a prominent advocate for worker protection, expressed his support for the Government's initiative.

"We want all workers to come home safely at the end of each day and be protected from deadly risks in the workplace," he stated.

Responding to concerns raised by workers and unions regarding Silicosis in the engineered stone industry, the Government issued an urgent safety warning to highlight the severe risks of working with engineered stone and banned all dry cutting of such materials. Minister Grace, who has been actively involved in the process, has also supported a national review prohibiting the import of high-risk engineered stone.

The Code of Practice was developed through extensive consultation with unions, employers, and technical experts. It incorporates dust control methods based on robust data evidence. It applies to all construction work as well as the manufacturing of building materials containing crystalline silica. By implementing this code, the Government aims to ensure that workers are safeguarded from exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), known to cause the deadly disease: Silicosis.

"Controlling the dangers of silica dust will mean longer lives for many Queenslanders," said Chris Whiting MP, as he commended the Government's dedication to creating safer workplaces and emphasised the positive impact this would have on the lives of Queenslanders.

The Code of Practice establishes minimum legally enforceable standards, eliminating or minimising silica dust exposure. This ground-breaking initiative sets a precedent for other states and territories in Australia to follow, as it prioritises the well-being of workers and aims to prevent the devastating health consequences associated with silica dust exposure.

The Government's unwavering commitment to worker safety and its proactive approach in addressing health risks within the construction and housing industry have positioned Queensland as a leader in the nation. Implementing the Code of Practice has taken a significant stride towards protecting workers and ensuring they can perform their duties in a safe and healthy environment.


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