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 (2017-2023)

Key activities

  • SafeWork NSW completed the first phase of its third round of inspections to engineered stone businesses.
  • Silica in language information made available through SafeWork NSW’s translated resources.
  • Delivery of the first NSW Dust Disease Register Annual Report 2020-21 (PDF 1.42MB)
  • NSW Council’s Webinar through the Office of Local Government held in March 2023. 
  • The Community Voice Newsletter promoted translated silica videos to assist engineered stone businesses to understand their obligations.
  • Silica – What you need to know webinar released by icare.
  • Presentation to the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association (WCRA) on the issues and requirements surrounding silica in June 2023.
  • Exposure monitoring finalised in April 2023, with results to be published on the SafeWork NSW website. 
  • Release of Pocket Guide to Construction Safety 2022 to provide a quick reference for subcontractors and small business operators for high-risk activities.  
  • Facilitated a home building event in Granville for 25 members of the Afghan community who may work with silica.   
  • SafeWork NSW and Worksafe Victoria joined forces to help tradies and employers in Mildura and Buronga reduce the risk of crystalline silica and other safety hazards in construction. This week-long blitz targeted residential construction in August 2022. 

Workplace visits (since 2018)

The following information relates to SafeWork NSW’s silica workplace visit program which commenced in 2018. Data is from 2018 to 30 June 2023.

Workplace visits



Silica-related presentations to workplaces

Construction workplace visits
Manufactured stone visits
Other industries

Includes tunnelling, manufacturing, foundries and stonemasons.


Improvement notices
Prohibition notices

Issued for uncontrolled exposure to silica dust

On the spot fines

Issued for uncontrolled dry cutting


Since 2018 there have been two prosecutions related to silica. 

N MOITS & Sons Pty Ltd

June 2023

Exposed workers to the inhalation of RCS and/or acquiring silicosis or other respiratory disease or illness while performing their duties.

NumberOne Stone Marble and Granite Pty Ltd

February 2023

Failed to provide appropriate RPE to workers or provide RPE fit-test and training for workers.

Cases identified

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

65 cases and 9 deaths
1 July 2022 - 30 June 2023

65 silicosis cases were notified to NSW Health by icare. All cases were male. 

Silicosis sub-type 

Chronic                                                  59
Accelerated <5
Acute <5
Not identified 1

Region of Birth

Australia/New Zealand                  21
Europe 5
Asia 11
Middle East <5
Not identified 26

Age groups

Under 21                                                0
21-40 18
41-70 37
71-90 7
90+ 0
Not identified <5

By industry (ANZSIC)

Manufactured/Engineered Stone (2090)                   47
Construction – site prep/heavy civil (3109/3212) 14
Other <5

By occupation (ANZSCO)

Engineered Stone processors (7111) 45
Bricklayers and stonemasons (3311)  0
Construction – site prep/heavy civil (7212/8219)    15
Other 5
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).

9 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.

SafeWork NSW Regulatory Priorities

Reducing exposure to harmful substances, including silica, is a regulatory priority for SafeWork NSW in 2023.

SafeWork NSW chooses regulatory priorities based on the following factors:

  • potential for serious harm or death

  • new or emerging issues

  • increases in frequency of an issue.

Learn more about the SafeWork NSW 2023 Regulatory Priorities.

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.

More information

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