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Trials begin on real-time silica dust detector

SafeWork NSW enforces new engineered stone Code of Practice

Trials have begun in New South Wales for technology that can accurately monitor silica dust levels in the air.

The technology has the potential to protect workers from contracting the deadly lung disease silicosis.

NSW Better Regulation and Innovation Minister Kevin Anderson said the innovative detector could be used by workers cutting or working with manufactured or other silica containing stone, protecting them from unknowingly inhaling dangerous levels of silica dust.

“We’re on a mission to stamp out silicosis in this state. This ground breaking device allows us, for the first time, to monitor exposure levels in real-time ensuring workers can remove themselves from harmful exposure before it’s too late,” Anderson said.

“This Government puts the safety of its citizens first, and the NSW Government’s investment into developing this device will help give peace of mind for anyone working with manufactured stone.”

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The detector is part of the State Government’s two-year plan to reduce cases of dust diseases such as silicosis and asbestosis.

So far, the NSW Government has also reduced the legal exposure standard for silica exposure, banned dry cutting of manufactured stone, made silicosis a notifiable disease and established a dust disease register to track, respond to, and prevent deadly dust diseases.

The NSW Dust Strategy 2020-22 aims to coordinate SafeWork NSW’s exposure prevention activities to ensure consistent application of the controls and best practice principles across NSW’s worksites.

“We’ve consulted widely with unions, employers’ associations and the building and construction sector to develop a robust and practical strategy and look forward to working with industry to implement these principles and end dust diseases for good,” Anderson said.

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