Silica Symposium to unmask unsafe work

More than 300 people from industry, government and research facilities will attend this years SafeWork NSW Silica Symposium - Unmasking those that don’t work safe.

7 May 2019

More than 300 people from industry, government and research facilities will attend this years SafeWork NSW Silica Symposium - Unmasking those that don’t work safe with Dr Karl as the master of ceremonies.

Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, said he was pleased to see business owners and workers from the manufactured stone, sandstone stonemasonry, as well as tunnelling and domestic construction industries attending the event.

“The re-emergence of the relatively forgotten lung disease, silicosis, has alarmed government and health professionals. The Cancer Council is predicting one-in-100 workers with past exposure to silica without correct safety measures will develop the disease,” Mr Anderson said.

“Speakers at the symposium will cover topics on dust control measures, services available for health screening and air monitoring, as well as having industry-specific workshops on achieving best practice,” Mr Anderson said.

SafeWork NSW’s Executive Director Specialist Services Andrew Gavrielatos, said when products containing silica are cut, grind or drilled, the dust particles generated are small enough to be inhaled and cause illness or the lung disease silicosis.

“This disease is preventable with the correct safety measures in place. This includes having adequate ventilation systems, installing dust capture systems on portable tools, wetting down the stone, providing personal protective equipment such as masks and respirators, and not using compressed air to remove or clean-up settled dust,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“Businesses should also conduct regular air monitoring to confirm that crystalline silica dust is not exceeding the Australian Workplace Exposure Standard and provide health monitoring to workers,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

The 2019 Silica Symposium will take place at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour on Tuesday May 7 and will coincide with the launch of a state-wide silica awareness campaign across digital TV and radio. For more information visit

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