AIOH vision is a healthy working environment for all, and to this end,  AIOH has consistently supported the National Silicosis Prevention Strategy because we recognise that irreversible harm from silicosis is preventable.

Safe Work Australia (SWA),  is charged with setting our country’s national policy on Workplace Exposure Standards (WES) in order to promote healthier, safer and more productive workplaces.

SWA members have recently determined that 0.025 mg/m3 is the appropriate WES for RCS, measured as a time weighted average (TWA) over 8 hours and to become effective within the 3-year transition period proposed for all other new and lowered WES . If enacted, it represents a halving of the RCS WES for the second time in 3 years.

Occupational Hygienists now face the technical and practical challenges of supporting the transition to this lowered RCS WES as there are existing limitations with the measurability of silica dust at very low concentrations that need to be addressed. Workplaces and regulators will also need clear guidance on how enforcement of the lowered WES will be interpreted and how Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU)   can achieve silica exposure management to As So Far as is Reasonably Practicable.

Occupational Hygienists are the scientists of workplace dust exposures and experts in how air monitoring for respirable crystalline silica can be accurately compared to any WES. The AIOH stands ready to support its workplaces, its professional members and stakeholders with these challenges.