15/01/2021 - 09:00

Mandatory testing to protect workers from silicosis

15/01/2021 - 09:00

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The state government has introduced new mandatory medical tests for the engineered stone industry to protect workers from silicosis.

Mandatory testing to protect workers from silicosis
Under the changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996, the low-dose high-resolution CT scan will replace the standard chest X-rays currently required. Image: Stock Image.,

From today, the engineered stone industry will be required to provide high-resolution CT scans for workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica as part of a new plan to protect workers from silicosis.

The state government has amended the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 to include the new mandatory requirement, the first state in Australia to do so.

The low-dose high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scan will replace the standard chest X-rays currently required, a test far superior in the early detection of silicosis.

Silicosis, a potentially lethal occupational lung disease, is caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica in industries including engineered stone product manufacturing, installation, stonemasonry and construction work.

Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said the health and safety of workers was a key priority, with the new scan expected to aid in the early diagnosis and prevention of the disease.

“The low-dose high-resolution CT scan coupled with the recent halving of the workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica, will be of great assistance in improving health outcomes for workers exposed to silica,” he said.

“There has been much concern about the number of silicosis cases in the eastern states and, although we have seen relatively few cases in WA, it’s appropriate we take action to minimise the risks for workers.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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