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New regulations announced for High Risk Crystalline Silica in the work force!

Victorian employers are being reminded there are new obligations in place to help protect workers from exposure to deadly crystalline silica dust.

High Risk Crystalline Silica  is contained in items like  stone, ceramic tiles, cement, blocks and marble. Breathing in very small (“respirable”) crystalline silica particles whilst doing High Risk Silica work, causes multiple diseases, including silicosis, an incurable lung disease that leads to disability and death.

Respirable crystalline silica also causes lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and kidney disease. Exposure to respirable crystalline silica is related to the development of autoimmune disorders and cardiovascular impairment. These occupational diseases are life-altering and debilitating disorders that annually affect thousands of workers across Australia

In 2021, there were 73 claims from from workers, who had developed silica related illness because of a poor work environment & unfortunately five individuals lost their lives.

New obligations will commence from 15 May & organisations now working with silica must identify and document high-risk crystalline silica work and the risk control measures they have in place.

Employers are now also required to provide safety training and instruction to any employees and information to any job applicants who may engage in high-risk crystalline silica work.

Manufacturers and suppliers of products containing crystalline silica must now provide a statement outlining the percentage of crystalline silica in the product, along with information about safe handling and exposure controls.

The changes were introduced in November last year as part of the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Crystalline Silica) Regulations 2021.

For more information visit Work Safe Victoria about  High risk Crystalline Silica here!

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