High risk crystalline silica work Updates
In November 2021, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 were amended to help protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
As of the 15th May, the following regulations have now commenced.
What is a crystalline silica process?
As outlined on the WorkSafe website, the OHS Regulations define a ‘crystalline silica process’ as one or more of the following processes carried out at a workplace:
- the use of a power tool or other forms of mechanical plant to
- cut, grind, polish or crush material containing crystalline silica or
- carry out any other activity involving material that containing crystalline silica that generates crystalline silica dust
- the use of a roadheader on an excavated face if the material in the face contains crystalline silica
- a process that exposes a person to crystalline silica dust arising from the manufacture or handling of material that contains crystalline silica
- the mechanical screening of crushed material containing crystalline silica
- a quarrying process involving material containing crystalline silica
- a tunnelling process involving material containing crystalline silica
- a process determined by the Authority to be a crystalline silica process
What has changed on 15 May, 2022?
From 15 May 2022, if you or your workers are carrying out a crystalline silica process or processes, you must identify whether those processes meet the definition of ‘high risk crystalline silica work’. These new obligations are in addition to existing obligations for work that is a crystalline silica process or an engineered stone process.
Under the OHS Regulations, high risk crystalline silica work is defined as work performed in connection with a crystalline silica process that is reasonably likely to result in:
- an airborne concentration of respirable crystalline silica that exceeds half the exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica or
- a risk to the health of a person at the workplace
For more information on how to identify you or your business is “high risk” and what you need to do, please click here to visit the WorkSafe Victoria website.
Please contact our Customer Service Team on 1300 00 50 52 for more information.