The Western Australian government has moved to implement changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996, which will improve protection for workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica, commonly an issue in the engineered stone industry.
The program has a three-month grace period, but as of today, employers must provide low-dose high-resolution computed tomography scans supervised by a medical practitioner, instead of the chest X-rays previously required.
HRCT scans are superior to chest X-rays and will assist in the early detection of silicosis.
The amendment is part of the McGowan government’s commitment to halve the workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica.
Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said that “the safety and health of WA workers is a key priority for the McGowan Government; this amendment to workplace safety laws will assist in the early detection or prevention of this disease.
“The low-dose high-resolution CT scan coupled with the recent halving of the workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica, will be of great assistance in improving health outcomes for workers exposed to silica.
“There has been much concern about the number of silicosis cases in the Eastern States and, although we have seen relatively few cases in WA, it’s appropriate we take action to minimise the risks for workers.”