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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Rebuild workers exposed to silica

Rebuild workers exposed to silica
Article Type:
Publication Date:
New Zealand

A study commissioned by WorkSafe NZ has raised concerns about silica dust exposure among workers on the Christchurch rebuild.

The study, headed by WorkSafe’s project manager (occupational health) for the Canterbury Rebuild Programme Donna Burt and departmental medical practitioner Professor Bill Glass, found a large number of construction workers were not using respiratory protection or effective dust suppression measures despite silica dust levels that in some situations exceeded workplace exposure standards.

The study also found there was a lack of knowledge about the risks associated with silica exposure.

Burt says the data suggests that control measures currently used by the construction industry should be reviewed to ensure workers are not putting themselves at risk of silicosis, an occupational lung disease characterised by inflammation and scarring.

The tasks most likely to cause excessive exposure were found to involve concrete grinders and polishers, although cutting concrete, and drilling, crushing or cutting Linea weatherboard also created high levels of dust.

Professor Glass says that, in the light of extensive data from international research, the study results suggest that action is needed to reduce silica exposure in the New Zealand.

“This could include a review of current work practices, and working with industry to agree on best practice standards for the management of silica dust,” he says.

WorkSafe is currently reviewing work practices for silica dust management in the construction industry, and plans to establish a clean air assessment programme.

Read the study here.



People Mentioned:
Donna Burt; Professor Bill Glass
Organisations Mentioned:
WorkSafe NZ; Canterbury Rebuild Programme;
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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