Cancer Council Australia raises awareness of silica dust dangers in new campaign
Australia’s leading cancer charity, Cancer Council Australia has joined forces with the global body for workplace health and safety, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) to raise awareness of the risks of silica dust and the life-threatening dangers it has.
The partnership has lead to new developments in silica dust research and new resources are now available online which outline how to avoid and manage exposure to silica as well as the risks of cancer and other diseases forming.
Occupational cancer is preventable, yet an estimated 230 Australians still develop lung cancer yearly as a result of silica dust exposure.
Silica dust is created when crystalline silica is created in materials like stone, mortar or tiles are broke down and released which can occurring when drilling, cutting, grinding or sanding products.
Silica is one of the cancer-causing carcinogens that IOSH is focusing its ‘No Time To Lose’ occupational cancer campaign.
“Each year in Australia about 600,000 people are exposed to silica dust in the workplace, from materials such as artificial and natural stone, bricks and concrete,” Cancer Council Australia occupational and environmental cancer committee chair, Tim Driscoll says.
“We regularly see workers cutting granite kitchen benches, tiles or bricks or demolishing materials without proper protection in place – which is a real concern. These new resources for workplaces explain the risk simply and provide a call to action for employers and workers to make sure proper control measures are used.”
IOSH head of global engagement and partner ships, Alan Stevens says: “Our partnerships with organisations like Cancer Council Australia have helped widen the reach of our No Time to Lose campaign.
“Quite simply, these free and easy-to-use resources can save lives, so the more people who receive them the better.”
These resources are rolling out during Safe Work Month and will show employers and workers practical ways to protect themselves and others.
Australian government body Safe Work Australia previously released a guide for working with silica-containing materials and Queensland launched the country’s first code of practice for the stone bench top industry.
These resources come after the NSW government moved to halve the allowable amount of silica in air from 0.1mg/m³ to 0.05mg/m³. The Cancer Council has previously stated that they want the recommended limit set to 0.02mg/m³.