Victoria will push for the urgent establishment of a national registry and review of the current standards to reduce the risk of stonemasons contracting silicosis.
Minister for Health Jill Hennessy will use the COAG Health Council meeting in Adelaide today to call on her state and federal counterparts to make moves to set up a national registry to protect workers from the deadly disease.
Victoria is pushing for a review and strengthening of the national standard that would ensure employers don’t expose their workers to silica dust in concentrations deemed at risk.
The Andrews Labor Government will introduce a notification system to ensure data is captured at the point of diagnosis – to better track and take action on the issue affecting mainly workers who are exposed to dust from stone kitchen benchtops.
Stonemasons across the country have contracted the potentially fatal disease after cutting kitchen benchtops. Accelerated silicosis can have significant health implications – and can be fatal.
While the Federal Government’s decision to discuss the matter at the COAG Health Council meeting is a good start, Ms Hennessy says a national registry and a sweeping review of the current safety standards is essential when it comes to protecting worker safety.
Any review should also consider how to better screen workers exposed to potentially dangerous levels of silicosis.
In Victoria, Worksafe has a dedicated silica inspection program to ensure employers comply with regulations when it comes to exposure limits.
Any employers or employees who have concerns should contact Worksafe. If you are concerned about your health, contact your GP or clinician.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“Silicosis is a national issue affecting Victorian workers and we have to stamp it out. We want to see the Federal Government show some leadership and take immediate, meaningful action.”
“Raising the matter is an important first step, but the Morrison Government must introduce a national registry and an urgent review of the current standards.”