RACP welcomes COAG review of silica exposure standards and register

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has welcomed a commitment today by COAG Health Ministers to a review of standards governing the artificial stone benchtop industry and examining the establishment of a national dust disease register for workers.

Dr Graeme Edwards, an occupational physician and Fellow of the RACP said:

“The decision today by COAG Health Ministers to review standards and regulations governing the artificial stone benchtop industry is a significant step toward protecting workers.

“While the establishment of a national dust disease register will go some way to providing us with a better understanding of the scale and of the problem and assisting us in identifying individuals earlier in the disease process who may benefit of treatment, it will only work if combined with a national surveillance program.

“The RACP reiterates our call for an immediate prohibition of dry cutting techniques until safety standards have been thoroughly reviewed and the urgent establishment of a nation program of respiratory health assessments for all people that have worked in the industry.”

“We welcome these commitments, and look forward to liaising with governments on the detail of these proposals.

The RACP and Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) earlier this week sounded the alarm on silicosis, calling for urgent action by regulators to protect workers in the artificial stone benchtop industry after witnessing an alarming spike in the numbers of people being diagnosed with an accelerated form of the deadly condition.

The RACP through its Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) is working with the Thoracic Society to develop answers to frequently asked questions to assist doctors and their patients throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Contact: Matthew Phillips – 0408 541 717, media@racp.edu.au 

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