SafeWork Australia has announced that it has reduced the recommended workplace exposure standards for respirable crystalline silica. The reduction sees the standard brought down from 0.1 mg/m3 to the significantly lower 0.05 mg/m3.
Safe Work Australia Announcement
Work Health and Safety (WHS) ministers have agreed by the requisite majority to reduce the workplace exposure standards (WES) for respirable coal dust and respirable crystalline silica.
- Respirable coal dust will be reduced to a time-weighted average (TWA) of 1.5 mg/m3
- Respirable crystalline silica will be reduced to a TWA of 0.05 mg/m3.
WHS ministers further agreed that the revised WES for respirable coal dust will apply from 1 October 2022 (allowing for a three-year transitional period). For respirable crystalline silica, WHS ministers agreed the revised WES be implemented as soon as practicable*.
Safe Work Australia has published a revised version of the Workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants that contain the revised value for respirable crystalline silica. It is up to individual governments to implement this change into jurisdictional WHS laws.