Government to take action on dust disease

Paul Hayes

23/01/2020 3:02:46 PM

The Federal Government is taking action to accept all recommendations from the interim advice of the National Dust Disease Taskforce.

Stone worker
Silicosis is most associated with workers exposed to silica dust.

‘At present, there is no known treatment to stop the progression of the disease.’
That is Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt discussing accelerated silicosis, a preventable occupational lung disease that occurs in workers as a result of exposure to silica dust.
‘This can occur in various industries, with recent cases related to the manufacture and installation of artificial stone bench tops, largely throughout Queensland,’ he said.
‘Some workers may eventually need a lung transplant.’
Minister Hunt this week announced the Federal Government will be acting to accept each of the five recommendations of the interim advice of the National Dust Disease Taskforce.
Taskforce’s interim advice has identified early steps governments can take to address the issues identified to date: 

  • Developing a targeted education and communication campaign to raise awareness of the risks of working with engineered stone
  • Ongoing staged development of a national dust disease registry, with specific data requirements recommended by the Taskforce
  • Targeted investment in key research activities to improve understanding of prevention, diagnosis and treatment
  • Developing national guidance on screening workers working with engineered stone
  • Development of a national approach to identify occupational silica dust exposure and other future occupational diseases
‘These actions will be implemented progressively in 2020 in parallel to the Taskforce finalising its report,’ Minister Hunt said.
‘A final report will be delivered to the Council of Australian Governments’ Health Council by the end of 2020.’
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