The new national workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica takes effect in the Northern Territory on 1 July 2020.
Exposure standards are mandatory legal limits set to minimise exposure to airborne contaminants in the workplace to protect the health of workers.
The new exposure standard halves the amount of respirable crystalline silica a worker can be exposed to over an eight-hour shift, from 0.1 mg/m3 to 0.05 mg/m3.
Results from last years a silica compliance campaign found Territory businesses understood the dangers of silica, and compliance with work health and safety requirements was very high. WorkSafe Inspectors only issued three improvement notices and two prohibition notices during the campaign.
It is important that Territory businesses and workers remain vigilant and incorporate the new exposure limit into their work procedures to avoid cases of silicosis.
Remember control the risk of silica dust with these steps.
- Use a product with no silica content, and if that’s not possible use a product with the lowest content;
- Always wear appropriate PPE;
- Use engineered solutions which minimise dust generation and the risk of exposure such as local exhaust ventilation, water suppression (wet cutting) or using tools with dust collection attachments;
- Clean up regularly to stop any dust spreading;
- Conduct regular air monitors; and
- Provide health monitoring for your workers.
* Reminder natural stone still contains silica.