Silica dashboard

Silica dust is a major hazard for workers in NSW and can lead to the serious and often fatal lung disease silicosis. Our silica dashboard shows what is being done. 

Current Silica project status (2017-2022)

Updated: September 2022 

Key activities

Silica-related presentations to workplaces

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Workplace visits (since 2018)

The following information relates to SafeWork NSW’s silica workplace visit program which commenced in 2018 and runs until late 2022. Data is from 2018 to 30 June 2022.

Workplace visits


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Manufactured stone visits
Construction workplace visits
Other industries

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includes tunnelling, manufacturing, foundries and stonemasons

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Improvement notices
Prohibition notices

Issued for uncontrolled exposure to silica dust


On the spot fines

Issued for uncontrolled dry cutting

Exposure standard not met*

Notices issued where control measures not confirmed as meeting 0.05mg/m3

  • Manufactured stone = 20
  • Construction = 49

*commenced 1 July 2020

Cases identified
Silicosis cases 2021-2022
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1 July 2021 - 30 June 2022

Where volume of data is low, data has been grouped into categories to allow reporting while maintaining privacy principles.

64 cases and 10 deaths

Five diagnosed prior to the 2021-22 reporting period.

57 cases were notified to NSW Health by icare, 7 were notified by other medical practitioners. All cases were male. 

NSW Dust Disease Register Annual Report 2021 - 22 (PDF 542.96KB)

Silicosis sub-type 

Chronic                                                  45
Accelerated <5
Acute 7
Not identified 8

Region of Birth

Australia/New Zealand                  21
Europe 6
Asia 19
Not identified 18

Age groups

Under 21                                                -
21-40 19
41-70 35
71-90 9
90+ -
Not identified 1

By industry (ANZSIC)

Manufactured/Engineered Stone (2090)                   50
Construction – site prep/heavy civil (3109/3212) 10
Other <5

By occupation (ANZSCO)

Engineered Stone processors (7111) 46
Bricklayers and stonemasons (3311)  <5
Construction – site prep/heavy civil (7212/8219)    9
Other <5

Silicosis cases 2017 - 2021

107 cases

Prior to commencement of the NSW Dust Disease Register (data derived from icare).

40 cases

Prior to commencement of the NSW Dust Disease Register (data derived from icare).

09 cases

Prior to commencement of the NSW Dust Disease Register (data derived from icare).

Notification of a silicosis diagnosis

From 1 July 2020, all medical practitioners must notify NSW Health when they diagnose a case of silicosis in NSW.

Reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals and materials Project 2017-2022

Respirable Crystalline Silica (silica) is identified as one of the Top 2 Chemicals which pose the greatest risk to workers in NSW (the other being Formaldehyde). Aligned to SafeWork NSW’s Roadmap for NSW 2022, this project aims to achieve a 30% reduction in serious injuries and illnesses by 2022, in relation to exposure to hazardous chemicals. Key components of the project are awareness and education, inspector visits and compliance, legislation and research into best practice approaches to harm prevention.

Action taken on uncontrolled cutting, grinding or drilling of silica products or materials

From 1 July 2020:

  • the workplace exposure standard (WES) for silica has been reduced to 0.05mg/m3 (eight-hour time-weighted average)
  • on-the-spot fines apply for uncontrolled cutting, grinding, drilling and polishing of manufactured stone
  • silicosis became a notifiable condition by all medical practitioners to NSW Health
  • on-the-spot fines apply for PCBUs failing to notify SafeWork NSW of an adverse health monitoring report

Uncontrolled cutting, grinding or drilling of products or materials containing crystalline silica can generate hazardous levels of airborne dust. Breathing in this dust, usually over several years, can lead to serious and fatal lung diseases such as silicosis. You must use water, dust extraction systems on portable tools, or adopt other methods that eliminate or minimise the generation of silica dust. Inspectors can issue prohibition notices to stop you from doing work that generates high levels of silica dust. If you don't comply with a prohibition notice, PCBUs (employers) can face penalties up to $100,000.

If you are a fabricator or installer of manufactured stone products e.g. kitchen benchtops you must:

  • use saws, grinders and polishers with an integrated water supply to minimise the amount of dust generated
  • ensure workers wear half face piece reusable or disposable respirators as a minimum, that comply with the Australian Standard 1716:2012 Respiratory Protective Devices
  • use on-tool dust capture shrouds or water to control dust generated during any work required during on site installation.

Failure to use these controls for fabricating or installing manufactured stone can result in an on the spot fine of $3,600.

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