We think you are in Victoria. If not please click 'Change'

In your state, you are required to confirm you wish to access this information. Please enter 'QLD' or 'WA' in the field below to continue.

No thanks

Silicosis on the rise: The hidden dangers of engineered stone


Historically, silicosis has been recognised as a dust disease affecting labourers from 40 to 50 years ago who worked closely with sandstone products. Unfortunately, this is no longer appears to be the case and many modern workers may be at risk.

What is silicosis?

Silicosis is a permanent and aggressive lung disease caused by breathing in silica dust particles over an extended period of time. Silica is a common mineral found in everyday materials such as granite, sandstone, marble and slate.

When an individual inhales silica dust, it becomes trapped in the lungs. Over time, the affected lung tissue scars and develops fibrotic nodules, impairing the sufferer’s ability to breathe.

Silicosis: A disease on the rise

Unfortunately, there has been a noted resurgence of cases of silicosis across Australia, and this has been attributed to a seemingly innocent source – the growing popularity of home renovations.

Reconstituted or ‘engineered’ stone products are highly sought after for modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their low price point and high durability. Unfortunately, these products contain high levels of crystalline silica, which, when manufactured, polished or installed, expose modern workers to dangerous levels of silica dust.


Unsafe working conditions

Appallingly, the common thread linking most modern cases of silicosis is an unsafe workplace. In many of the recent reported cases, the individual’s employer had failed to adhere to basic protective measures, such as the provision of:

  • respiratory masks;
  • specialised equipment; or
  • adequate ventilation systems.

Are you at risk of developing silicosis?

If you work with stone benches, or in any other industry that exposes you to materials containing silica, you may be at risk of developing silicosis.

Silicosis is preventable, so it is imperative that your workplace educates you on the dangers of silicosis and provides appropriate protective measures to all employees at risk. Your employer should also arrange regular medical check-ups for all employees working with reconstituted stone products to ensure symptoms are detected as early as possible.

Shine Lawyers – Dust disease compensation experts

If you believe you may have been exposed to silica, have been diagnosed with silicosis, or simply want more information, contact Shine Lawyers today.

Our team of dust disease specialists can assess your circumstances and provide you with obligation-free advice about any potential entitlements to compensation.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: July 5, 2017.

Join the discussion

Share this article:

There are 0 comments. Be the first!

DIY home renovators: The third wave of asbestos victims

Between 1945 and 1975, Australia was the largest consumer of asbestos products per capita in the world. We mined it, manufactured it and used it extensively across the country. Lauded for its versatility, asbestos was attractive to many industries, particularly construction. Exposure to dust was considered a normal part of the job. It wasn’t until […]

Read more

Silicosis: The silent killer

As a stonemason, Karl had no idea silica dust rising from the engineered stone he worked with could cost him his health. Now at just 39 years old, Karl suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and silicosis – a progressive, irreversible lung disease caused by inhaling silica dust. The dangers of engineered stone Karl links these illnesses […]

Read more

Case study: Landmark decision for asbestos victim in Northern Territory

After a David and Goliath battle, the entitlements for sufferers of asbestos-related illnesses have now been confirmed in the Northern Territory. Shine Lawyers has secured a High Court ruling that will define the law and entitlements of asbestos victims in the Northern Territory, ensuring they can access compensation for their injuries. The High Court ruling […]

Read more

Asbestos compensation claims: The medical requirements

Determining whether a person can lodge a claim for an asbestos-related disease is not always straight forward. There are many legal hurdles that need to be overcome, but it is the technical medical evidence that makes asbestos compensation claims particularly difficult. Exposure to asbestos There is no doubt that exposure to asbestos can lead to asbestos […]

Read more

Call Us Now

Our friendly consultants are available to talk Monday to Friday, 8:15am to 6:00pm AEST.

1800 618 851

Live Chat

Chat with Shine Lawyers through the livechat system without leaving your computer. No downloading, completely private and best of all - its easy to use.

Start a live chat now

Enquire Now

Enquire now