When you engage in activities such as cutting, grinding, drilling or polishing products that contain crystalline silica, it releases very fine dust. Some of the dust is so small you may not be able to see it. This dust is called respirable and can enter the lower regions of the lung.
Workers in industries like stonemasonry, construction, monument and the extractives industry may be exposed to respirable crystalline silica dust. Benchtop fabrication workers are at higher risk, because they regularly work with reconstituted stone.
Safe Work Australia publishes workplace exposure standards (WES) for airborne contaminants in the workplace, through its guidance Workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants.
The WES for respirable crystalline silica dust is 0.05 mg/m3 as a time-weighted average (TWA) airborne concentration over 8 hours.
Time weighted average exposure standard (TWA) means the average airborne concentration of a substance over an eight-hour working day, for a five-day working week. A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that a worker is not exposed to airborne contaminants above the workplace exposure standard.
The 8-hour TWA workplace expoiusre standard may need to be adjusted for workers who work longer than 8-hours or unusual length work shifts. mHowever, WorkSafe Victoria recommends that employers take a precautionary approach and reduce employees’ exposure to below 0.02 mg/m3 as an 8-hour TWA to prevent silicosis and minimise the risk of lung cancer. This is now in place in Victoria.
Here at Helia EHS we are experienced in assisting your organisation adjust to these changes. Helia EHS can help you with workplace monitoring, implementing controls for managing workplace exposures, development of a risk-based occupational hygiene management for respirable crystalline silica for e.g. selection of respiratory protection and other potential workplace exposures. Contact our team to discuss how we can assist you meeting your compliance obligations.
See you at Silicosis Summit presented by Worksafe Victoriaon 27 February 2020 at Flemington Racecourse https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/events/silicosis-summit
#AIOH #SafeWorkAustralia #Helia EHS #WorkSafeVictoria
Source of the above article: WorkSafe Victoria