Background of the new Workplace Exposure Standard for Respirable Dust

On the 18 February 2019, Safe Work Australia (SWA) released two recommended workplace exposure standard (WES) values for Respirable Crystalline Silica, and Respirable Coal Dust, which will impact our clients who regularly deal with these forms of dust. The documents within the links above provide further detail regarding the current recommendations and basis for WES, discussions and conclusions, and some primary and secondary sources to support the current findings.

The WES review project is in its early days of release and further reviews are scheduled to be released for comment periodically. There will be over 700 recommended workplace exposure standards being released as part of Safe Work Australia’s project.

New Workplace Exposure Standard Recommendations for Silica and Crystalline (Respirable Dust)

SWA recommends for the new WES for Silica and Crystalline to be at 0.02 mg/m3, lowered from 0.1 mg/m3. The change in standard is based on the review methodology. This new Standard was proposed to prevent lung cancer, fibrosis, and silicosis as multiple sources identify adverse effects in the lungs at 0.05 mg/m3 when exposed to Crystalline Silica.

New Workplace Exposure Standard Recommendations for Coal Dust (Containing < 5% Quartz)

For Coal Dust (Containing < 5 % Quartz), SWA recommends for the new WES to be at 0.9 mg/m3 for Bituminous and Lignite Coal, and 0.4 mg/m3 for Anthracite Coal. This new standard was proposed to prevent Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis (CWP), Progressive Massive Fibrosis (PMF) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) as numerous data source may suggest adverse health effects for individuals who are exposed in the above mentioned respirable dust form. It is also based on the same SWA review methodology.

Opportunity for Technical Feedback

Safe Work Australia is currently seeking public comments on the draft recommendations and reports for these workplace exposure standards. If you would like to provide feedback, you can do so through this link, prior to 30 April 2019.

News & Media

Reduction of Workplace Exposure Standards for Silica and Coal Dust

Reduction of Workplace Exposure Standards for Silica and Coal Dust Australian Ministers recently agreed to reduce the workplace exposure standards (WES) for respirable coal dust and respirable crystalline silica to the levels that were proposed by Safe Work Australia (SWA) earlier in 2019. Background on the WES Review In 2018, SWA developed and documented a methodology to review the existing list from 1995 of adopted national exposure standards…

News & Media

Melioidosis: A Cause for Concern in Northern Queensland

Melioidosis in Townsville (Image Taken From Brisbane Times) In light of the devastating flood in the tropic region, GCG would like to spread awareness to those affected about a disease called Melioidosis, caused by bacteria found in contaminated water and soil. The cleanup and rectification from the recent flooding in Townsville continues, with heavy assistance from GCG consultants who were stationed in the region. Adding to a challenging situation, cases…

News & Media

World Cup Fever – GCG Sponsors Brisbane City FC

A significant portion of the GCG team are huge sports fans and of late there has been a large amount of World Cup banter circulating. This has ranged from obsessive fandom to bandwagon support – with the occasional well-natured discussion regarding the state of the dive in all professional sports. With the timezone difference between Russia and Australia not being favourable, coffee consumption is also up. It is timely then that…

News & Media

“How do I respond to a safety audit?”

Audits.  I know what you’re thinking…successive root canals for a week sounds more appealing.  But it doesn’t have to be like that, does it? The audit variables are almost endless.  Internal audits by corporate managers, external certification audits, government audits, pre-qualification audits, client audits, peer audits, and senior management audits – the list goes on.  What is the auditor like?  Is the auditor not fit to sharpen my pencil?  What…

News & Media

From University to Industry: The Stories of Kevin and Adam, GCG’s Health and Safety Consultants

For those who are headed towards getting your foot in the industry, you’re well aware it is no easy feat landing a job interview. Some had it easy, while others had to wait for the right opportunity to knock on their door. Most exciting part of my job would be the diversity in the work I do. Everyday is different, every week I’m somewhere else… everything’s a challenge.” – Adam…

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