The new construction silica code of practice comes into effect on 1 May 2023. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors will audit manufacturing and construction workplaces from May to August 2023 to ensure requirements of the code are being met.
The code has been designed to protect Queensland workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS or silica dust) – known to cause silicosis.
Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in many building materials, but silica dust particles are so small they cannot be seen under normal lighting conditions. Silica dust can stay airborne for long periods of time, and, due to their microscopic size, the particles are easily inhaled.
The Code will apply to all construction work as well as the manufacturing of building materials that contain crystalline silica. It outlines minimum enforceable standards to eliminate or minimise exposure to silica dust. These include:
- applying tried and tested dust control methods that prevent silica dust from being generated or being released into the air, including water suppression and on-tool dust extraction
- using respiratory protective equipment to safeguard at-risk workers
- using exposure data from air monitoring to check dust controls are effective
- providing health monitoring to at-risk workers, with clearly defined triggers for testing based on level of risk.
The audits will target construction work and manufacturers of construction elements which involve:
- the use of materials that contain one per cent or more crystalline silica
- tasks which generate RCS dust or make RCS airborne
- manufacturers’ duties to provide adequate information on manufactured materials that contain crystalline silica and how they can be used safely.
Please read the code (PDF, 1.71 MB) and ensure control measures are in place at your workplace to minimise the risk of workers' exposure to RCS.
Use the below self-assessment checklist to review your RCS processes and controls:
- Self-assessment tool for construction (DOCX, 0.04 MB)
- Self-assessment tool for manufacturing (DOCX, 0.05 MB).
Read about crystalline silica or check out these articles on the new construction silica code of practice: