Are you familiar with the deadly lung disease called silicosis? If not, we have some startling news that should grab your attention.

According to a recent report commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), experts are raising great concern about the predicted rates of this occupational hazard. The truth is, it’s estimated that tens of thousands of workers in the mining, construction, and engineering industries are at risk of developing this irreversible illness. The report predicts that 83,090 silicosis cases will arise in the future as a result of current occupational exposure to crystalline respirable silica. When using a less conservative ratio, the experts predict that 103,860 silicosis cases will result from current occupational exposure.

Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in many naturally occurring and man-made materials used across various industries. These materials include sandstone, concrete, bricks, tiles, engineered stone, and even some types of plastics. When disturbed in processes such as cutting, crushing, or grinding, these materials release silica dust into the air. Though it may seem innocuous, this fine dust can penetrate deep into the air sacs in the lungs when inhaled, leading to inflammatory and fibrotic responses. Over time, these responses can result in silicosis, an incurable and potentially fatal lung disease.

That’s why it’s essential for employers to put safety protocols and preventative measures into place to protect their workers by reducing the level of exposure, introducing dust suppression, use of well-fitted quality respiratory protective equipment, wet cutting methods, and elimination of engineered stone or at least introduction of strict engineering controls.

Taking into account these pandemic predictions, GPs can expect to see more patients with lung diseases induced by breathing in silica dust, like silicosis, silica-induced lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is welcomed that the Australian government released the national guidance for doctors assessing workers exposed to silica dust, which can assist GPs in the early diagnosis of these illnesses. However, it cannot be forgotten that these illnesses are completely preventable and could be eliminated with proper safety protocols.

ABC News published an article about the new modelling projecting an epidemic of silicosis and lung cancer. The full story can be found here.

If you or a loved one have been exposed to silica dust and are now suffering from a silica-induced illness, Turner Freeman Lawyers is here to help. Although nothing can reverse the damage caused by this dangerous illness, you may be eligible for compensation. We understand the importance of receiving compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages associated with occupational illnesses like silicosis. Turner Freeman Lawyers can help you investigate your case and pursue the justice you deserve.

The next step? Get in touch with Turner Freeman Lawyers.