NEWS THAT MATTERS
Have your say on dust diseases scheme
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch is encouraging the community to enter their submissions to the review by The Standing Committee on Law and Justice into the Dust Diseases Scheme and Management of Silicosis in the Manufactured Stone Industry.
14 December 2021
CURRENTLY 1 in 5 stoneworkers are likely to develop silicosis, an incurable disease involving the scarring of lungs which overtime leads to the decrease of lung capacity, requiring oxygen support as the disease progresses.
Ms Tesch says this is an insidious disease that develops in many unsuspecting workers.
“Silicosis is a disease stemming from silica, a mineral that comes to the surface in occupations that consist of cutting, drilling or grinding natural materials including granite, sandstone and soil.
“For many construction workers and stone makers the threat of this is muted, with many unaware the risk even exists. Unfortunately the reality is that a few years of exposure to silica dust can lead to this life-threatening disease, with many people now experiencing the consequences of their profession.”
Maree Stokes, Vice President of the Asbestos Disease Foundation of Australia and Central Coast local says the foundation now supports people suffering with silicosis too.
“The Board was originally set up to help those individuals who years ago suffered from Asbestos, which impacted many professions like builders, carpenters and electricians, but now we are finding a new workplace where individuals are suffering from silicosis dust,” said Ms Stokes.
“The silicosis cases are mostly being seen in those who work to install and cut up bench tops for our modern kitchens. Unfortunately these cases are coming to light now, and we recently interviewed a former stonemason who is has been diagnosed with silicosis at just 45-years-old.”
Ms Tesch says this is a disease that is less widely known than asbestos but one that is just as serious.
“It is devastating to see the impact silicosis is having on those working in the stone industry. It is crucial that we are aware of the dangers of silicosis and the very real threat it poses and ensure we have our say on the current response to the disease.”
To lodge a submission head to www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lawandjustice.
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