Crystalline Silica is in the headlines as an emerging issue. Silicosis, caused by inhalation of Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) is a preventable disease that has not been addressed by many in the construction industry.

Recent Headlines have identified working with Engineered Stone as a primary cause of Silicosis. Although there are calls for the banning of Engineered Stone in the workplace, existing OHS regulations provide guidance  for safe working with the product. Despite this the evidence suggests that not enough is being done.

Overlooked by many is that RCS is present in many civil constructions related activities such as concrete batching, cutting, drilling, or grinding of materials that contain silica, excavation in high silica soils, and activities that generate dust, potentially containing Silica. Common materials that contain Silica include, bricks, concrete, granite, sand, and even clay.

WorkSafe is aware that of the issue of RCS in Civil Construction and increasing its focus through the iWork site inspections, increasing education and the development of new construction guidance material on its website.

The Civil Contractors Federation is working with WorkSafe in developing the Guidance material and asks for your help in raising awareness of the issue.

If you are aware of any potential Silicosis occurrences in the industry please advise Geoff Reynolds at or directly to . The information will be invaluable in the development of guidance materials.