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Posts Tagged ‘stone cutting and the disease silicosis.’

Building Practice causing deaths & serious illnesses as reported in Qld Australia

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

AN IMMEDIATE ban has been issued on a certain building practice after dozens of new cases of the disease silicosis are brought to our attention.

Recent cases of trades people contracting the life-threatening lung disease prompted the Queensland government to announce an immediate ban on dry-cutting artificial stone benchtops.

More than 20 new cases have come forward in the past three weeks alone – including six terminal cases.

Andrew White is a Gold Coast stonemason who went public with his diagnosis, urging other tradies to protect themselves.

The disease made headlines earlier this year when Shine Lawyers called for doctors to ask young men about their day jobs because of the alarming rise in cases.

Stemming from the coal miners Black Lung inquiry, the government has also been looking at silicosis risks, and has identified stonemasons dry cutting stone bench tops as being at serious risk of the irreversible condition, which is contracted by breathing in tiny particles of silica dust that settle in the lungs.

RELATED: Question doctors must ask tradies

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace on Tuesday announced dry cutting was now banned following an investigation of 10 workplaces by Workplace Health and Safety.

“The audit uncovered extremely poor work practices – including uncontrolled dry cutting, inadequate ventilation and a lack of personal protection equipment such as respiratory masks,” Ms Grace said.

“From this week, there will be 22 specially trained inspectors on the ground conducting audits, with the remaining 150 manufacturers to be audited by the end of the year.”

An urgent safety warning has been issued regarding dry stone-cutting, with the government to develop regulations to explicitly ban the practice.

Engineered stone is becoming more common as a cheaper substitute to marble benchtops, but is made of around 90 per cent crystalline silica, which is one of the major causes of silicosis.

The artificial stone is considered safe if it is only cut when wet.

Ms Grace said WorkCover Queensland had received 26 compensation claims for workers with silicosis; 22 in the last three weeks.

She said that was only in Queensland, and would write to her Australian Federal Government counterpart Kelly O’Dwyer to urge them to expand the ban nationally.

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Henry Sapiecha