A new dust diseases register designed to track incidences of silicosis among workers in NSW is set to be introduced.

What is silicosis?

Silicosis is a preventable occupational lung disease occurring as a result of exposure to silica dust. A recent epidemic of silicosis cases has arisen in the construction industry as a result of unsafe work practices involving engineered stone bench tops.

Crystalline silica is found in sandstone and other natural stone. It is used to make a variety of products, including artificial stones used to fabricate kitchen and bathroom benchtops. When workers drill, polish, saw or grind products that contain silica, dust particles are generated that are small enough to lodge deep in the lungs and cause illness or disease including silicosis.

The new register has been established as part of the Work Health & Safety Amendment (Information Exchange) Bill 2020, which passed the NSW Parliament on 22 October 2020 and is expected to shortly come into force.

Any incidences of silicosis must now be reported to SafeWork NSW, which is the body responsible for maintaining the register.

It is important to note that, if you have been diagnosed with silicosis, you may be entitled to significant compensation.

Turner Freeman has the largest dust diseases litigation team in Australia and can investigate the source of your silica exposure if you are diagnosed with silicosis or another dust-related condition. Contact us today to speak with our experienced lawyers to find out more about the compensation claim process.