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Ministerial Media Release: Better protections for ACT engineered stone workers from silica dust​

June 11, 2020

The ACT Government is providing better protections for workers employed in the building, construction and stonemasonry sectors through improved workplace standards for silica dust from 1 July 2020.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety, Suzanne Orr said the revised workplace exposure standard is crucial to help protect those working with silica containing products.

“The ACT Government is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all working Canberrans and particularly those working with hazardous materials,” Minister Orr said.

“Although the new nationally agreed workplace exposure standard of 0.05mg/m3 effectively halves the previous standard, the ACT Government is encouraging businesses to go lower as we know it is still possible at this level for workers to develop adverse health conditions such as silicosis.

“The recommended health-based exposure standard for silica dust is actually 0.02mg/m3 and the ACT Government will be working closely with other jurisdictions to further reduce workplace exposure standards over the next two years.

“As technology is better able to measure the lower standard of 0.02mg/m3, national work health and safety requirements should be decreased,” Minister Orr said.

Work Health and Safety Commissioner, Jacqueline Agius has also reinforced the importance of industry compliance with the revised workplace exposure standard.

“Ensuring the building and construction industries understand and abide by this new regulation is a critical part of what we do,” Ms Agius said.

“Every worker has a right to a safe and regulated work environment and ensuring the risks posed by silica dust exposure are minimised is of paramount importance to us.”

For more information on workplace exposure standards please visit the WorkSafe ACT website.

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