Reduction in workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica

The national workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica has been halved from an eight hour time-weighted average airborne concentration of 0.1 milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m3) to 0.05 mg/m3. This new workplace exposure standard takes effect in Queensland from 1 July 2020.

What it means for you

You must manage worker exposure to dust and meet your existing duties and obligations under Queensland work health and safety legislation. This means:

  • using higher order controls (including elimination, engineering, isolation and substitution)
  • air monitoring
  • health monitoring
  • training for workers
  • appropriate respiratory protective equipment.

Health risks of exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust

Respirable crystalline silica dust is so fine you usually can’t see it. It can stay airborne for long periods of time and easily be inhaled deep into the lungs. Breathing in respirable crystalline silica dust can cause serious lung diseases including silicosis and lung cancer as well as chronic renal disease and autoimmune disorders.

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