Silicosis sufferers, their families, and industries have been waiting for The National Dust Diseases Taskforce to make essential recommendations.
The task force’s final report has now been handed down and makes seven recommendations for action on silicosis to protect workers from harm.
The National Dust Disease Taskforce was formed when a trend emerged of new cases of accelerated silicosis, a preventable occupational lung disease occurring in workers due to exposure to silica dust. Meaningful action needed to be taken after many silicosis cases were related to manufacturing and installing engineered stone benchtops, particularly in Queensland.
The seven recommendations made by the National Dust Disease Taskforce supported a range of regulatory and non-regulatory actions designed to impact improving worker health and safety. The recommendations highlighted the need for manufacturers of engineered stone products to take greater responsibility.
What are the National Dust Disease Taskforce’s 7 Recommendations?
- Strengthen work health and safety measures to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica and its devastating consequences. Maintaining the status quo is not acceptable.
- To build on the early recommendation from the Interim Advice to develop national guidance to identify people at risk from respirable crystalline silica exposure, improve the quality, frequency, and coverage of health screening assessments for current and former workers.
- In addition to implementing the early recommendations from the Interim Advice that aim to prevent the risk of exposure to respirable crystalline silica and other hazardous dust, prioritize investment in prevention activities.
- Better support workers affected by dust diseases and their families through individually tailored psychological, financial, and return-to-work support programs.
- Better support medical, health, and other related professionals to improve the diagnosis and management of workers affected by silicosis.
- Building on the early recommendations from the Interim Advice for a national strategic approach to research and the development of a national dust disease registry, and following initial investments, prioritize: a) Enhancing silica and occupational respiratory disease research expertise in Australia and the evidence base by identifying additional priority areas for further research funding, supporting collaboration and information sharing, and funding fellowships and scholarships; and b) Operationalising the National Occupational Respiratory Disease Registry as soon as possible, with an initial focus on mandatory reporting of silicosis and voluntary reporting of other occupational respiratory diseases.
- Establish a cross-jurisdictional governance mechanism to improve communication and information sharing, coordinate responses and progress reports.
The Taskforce formed the seven recommendations following research and consultation, and engagement with the community and a broad range of stakeholders. The Taskforce ran three rounds of consultation. The final 80-page report contains a significant amount of information and further details about the seven recommendations.
The National Dust Diseases Taskforce final report can be accessed by clicking here.
NeXtrack is a new end-to-end digital solution for hazard control and real-time compliance monitoring. The platform helps builders, subcontractors and workers in the construction industry to identify, manage and report on a range of hazards ensuring every site is a healthy site. To find out more about how you can LIVE LARGE with neXtrack please REGISTER HERE.