VTHC Exposure Standard - 0.025mg/m3 as an 8hr TWA.
Victorian Trades Hall Council has released an approved safety standard for silica exposure.
The United States have implemented a silica dust exposure standard of 0.025mg/m3 as an 8 hour time weighted average. We don't think it's acceptable that Australian workers are expected to tolerate up to four times that amount. So we're changing it.
The OHS team at Victoria Trades Hall Council recently produced a webinar with industry experts on silica, where it's found, the damage it can cause and the protective actions that can be taken.
NOTE: February 28 2023, WHS Ministers from all jurisdictions met an agreed unanimously to the following measures relating to Silicosis:
- Delivery of national awareness and behaviour change initiatives, in partnership with employers and unions.
- Stronger regulation of high-risk crystalline silica processes for all materials (including engineered stone) across all industries. This includes additional training requirements; a requirement to conduct air monitoring and report workplace exposure standard exceedances to the relevant regulator; and scoping new and updated model Codes of Practice for at-risk industries. In developing the regulations, Safe Work Australia is requested to further consider definitions to minimise any unintended consequences.
- Further analysis and consultation on a prohibition of the use of engineered stone under the model WHS laws, including consideration of silica content levels and other risk factors and including consideration of a national licensing system for products that are not subject to a ban or legacy products. Safe Work Australia is requested to finalise a report as quickly as possible and within 6 months at the latest.
- In addition to this the Commonwealth will explore an import ban on engineered stone, involving consultation with states and territories, and other stakeholders, on the effects of a ban.
This is a significant step forward for the rights and protections for workers and will save thousands of lives.
Last updated 9 March 2023