Risks of worker exposure to crystalline silica and resulting silicosis has been around a very long time, however, there has recently been more intense focus in Australia coming from health impacts on kitchen bench cutters. As a result,
Safework Australia has published a review of the workplace exposure standards (WES) for crystalline silica (respirable quartz) and respirable coal dust, available for public comment until 30 April 2019.
Our WA clients may be interested to hear that there has been a recommendation to reduce the time weighted average (TWA) for crystalline silica from the current TWA (8 hour) of 0.1 mg/m3 to 0.02 mg/m3 based on exposure studies and animal trials. For miners on 12-hour shifts, where respirable quartz is one of the most significant hygiene hazards, the adjusted TWA (12-hour) would be 0.01 mg/m3 which will also be close to a normal limit of reporting from laboratories.
Read the report and comment here: https://engage.swa.gov.au/wes-review-release-1-RCS-RCD