Melbourne-based respiratory physician, Dr Ryan Hoy, has warned that we may be experiencing the “largest occupational lung crisis we’ve seen since the peak of asbestos use in the 1960s and the 1970s”. (ABC News)
Dr Hoy is among a number of medical experts that have recently spoken out about the over-exposure of Australian workers to silica dust particles, which are found in certain construction materials, including bricks, tiles, concrete and granite.
Inhalation of silica dust can cause silicosis: an aggressive incurable lung disease.
So, how many workers does this affect?
It’s difficult to tell how many workers are currently being exposed to harmful silica levels, however, the Cancer Council suggests that, in 2011, approximately 587,000 Australian workers were exposed to silica dust in the workplace.
Of those workers, it has been estimated that 5758 would develop lung cancer over the course of their lives. Many workers may also be experiencing life-altering effects of silicosis, including bronchitis and tuberculosis.
If a worker has been exposed to unsafe working conditions and suffered an injury or illness as a result, they may be entitled to compensation. If you, or someone you know, has suffered an injury or illness in the workplace and require legal assistance,
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