Shine Lawyers welcomes the release of the National Dust Disease Taskforce
13 July 2021
Shine Lawyers' Dust Disease team welcomes the release of the National Dust Disease Taskforce's final report to the federal government, which contains recommendations to eliminate the hazard of silica dust in engineered stone workshops.
"For years, we've been calling for a licensing scheme to ensure the cutting of the engineered stone is restricted to businesses that can demonstrate compliance with rigorous workplace health and safety regulations,” says National Litigation Specialist Roger Singh.
"Engineered stone contains significant levels of silica, a highly toxic substance that can cause lung damage in the form of silicosis and progressive massive fibrosis.
"We have also linked exposure to silica dust with numerous autoimmune diseases like lupus, scleroderma, and Rheumatoid arthritis.
"Just like asbestos, silica has cut short too many lives and has destroyed too many families.
"While there have been improvements in recent years, there are still plenty of cowboy operators putting the health and safety of workers at risk.
"It is our hope a licensing scheme can turn this around but, should it fail to do so, a ban on engineered stone is a necessary next step.
"While the task force has recommended such a ban be introduced within three years should workplace conditions remain unacceptably dangerous, we say this is too generous a grace period.
"In our view, the federal government should review a licensing scheme within 18 months of it being introduced because every delay could potentially claim another life."
Roger and the Dust Disease team's expertise and experience have secured successful outcomes for countless workers suffering from silica-related illnesses.