It’s a sad reality that workers across Australia are putting their physical and mental health on the line in exchange for fair pay and secure employment. Unfortunately, a new threat to the health of our blue-collar workers has emerged – silicosis

According to the Australian Council of Trade Unions it is a “silent epidemic”.  Silicosis is caused by a high percentage of dangerous airborne crystalline silica particles found in engineered stone bench tops. With not nearly enough being done to protect these vulnerable people from sitting in harm’s way, SafeWork Australia is currently exploring what more must be done – possibly even pushing for a ban on some manufactured benchtops containing such deadly substances.

Engineered stone has become increasingly popular in Australia as a cheaper alternative to marble and granite for kitchen benches. Unfortunately, this stone contains a high percentage of silica which can cause serious health issues when inhaled while cutting or sanding the stone.

Workers exposed to airborne crystalline silica particles are at risk of developing silicosis, a potentially deadly and incurable lung disease, and other silica-induced illnesses like pneumoconiosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, silica-related lung cancer, diffuse related pulmonary fibrosis, systemic sclerosis involving interstitial lung disease induced by silica, chronic obstructive lung disease, silica induced auto-immune conditions like silica scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, renal failure without silicosis, occupational asthma and reactive airways dysfunction system. Measures must be taken to protect these workers from this dangerous substance so that they can continue their jobs in safety.

Unfortunately, often young workers are exposed to the dangers of silica dust as employers often fail to provide adequate safety measures. As a result, many of these young people have developed silicosis, an incurable illness that can prevent them from participating in the workforce and living their lives to the fullest. In addition to physical symptoms like persistent coughs and shortness of breath, this disease can also cause psychological stress and depression. The dangers of engineered stone must be brought to light so that employers and governments can take the necessary steps to protect their workers from such a deadly hazard.

Get in touch with us

At Turner Freeman we actively assist workers suffering from silicosis and other silica-induced illnesses to claim the compensation they are entitled to. We understand the hardship and stress these individuals have suffered due to their illness and take pride in providing support throughout the entire legal process.

If you were exposed to silica dust, to discuss your entitlement in more detail, please contact us as soon as possible on 02 8833 2500 so that we can address any questions or concerns you may have about making a claim.