Engineered stone is a popular material for countertops, flooring, and other home surfaces due to its durability and attractive appearance.

Engineered stone is a composite material made of quartz, acrylic or epoxy binders, and pigments. The silica content in this type of stone can be as high as 97%, whilst, for example, marble contains about 2% of silica.

The manufacturing processes of engineered stone like cutting, grinding, trimming, drilling, sanding, and polishing generate respirable silica dust. Workers who fabricate, process, install, maintain, or remove engineered stone products without appropriate control measures in place like working without an appropriate respirator or ventilation systems, attending to dry sweeping, using compressed air or high-pressure water cleaner, and general-purpose vacuum cleaners not designed for use with hazardous dust, may be exposed to high levels of silica dust.

Breathing in silica dust may lead to the development of various respiratory diseases like silicosis, progressive massive fibrosis, COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer. These conditions can cause permanent lung damage and even death in extreme cases. Breathing in silica dust can also lead to the development of other serious medical conditions like chronic kidney disease, and autoimmune disorders like scleroderma, and lupus. The risk of developing these dangerous conditions increases with prolonged exposure to airborne silica particles.

Sadly, frequently younger workers, who face financial pressure to support their young families, are diagnosed with silica-induced health conditions. They often face serious challenges finding alternative employment in a non-dusty environment that pays as well.

Workers who have been exposed to silica dust and contracted a dust disease may be eligible for compensation benefits. These benefits are intended to help those affected by these illnesses access the medical treatment they need while covering lost wages due to their inability to work. In addition, if the illness is determined to be caused by negligence on the part of an employer or other third party, additional damages such as pain and suffering can also be awarded.

If you were exposed to silica dust and you were diagnosed with silica related health condition, you might be entitled to claim compensation.

Get in touch with us

If you would like to obtain advice about your entitlements and/or investigate a potential claim for compensation, please contact our dust diseases team on 02 8833 2500.

At Turner Freeman, we have specialist dust diseases lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements. Our dust diseases lawyers are located across NSW including offices in Parramatta, Wollongong and Newcastle.  We also travel to see clients at hospitals and their homes.

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