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Case Study – WHS Charges Against PCBU for Failing to Implement Silica Control Measures in NSW


A recent Work Health Safety (WHS) breach resulted in two improvement notices issued to a PCBU for failing to ensure the safety of its staff from silica dust. SafeWork NSW further charged the PCBU in the District Court with breaching the Work Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure the safety of its workers between 2014 and 2021. The PCBU was found guilty and fined $100,000.00 which was reduced to $75,000.00 as a result of his plea of guilt to the charges.

In this case the PCBU failed to:

  • Ensure that masks were fit-tested;
  • Instruct his staff that they need to be clean-shaven to increase the efficacy of the masks;
  • Identify silica dust as a hazard in its SWMS;
  • Explain or translate the SWMS to workers who did not understand it, or whose first language was something other than English.
  • Prohibit its workers from leaving with silica contaminated dust, or provide appropriate laundry services on site;
  • Ensure that the dust levels did not exceed the threshold.

Why is this important:

Members are reminded that they are required to ensure the safety of all employees on site and in the workplace. Failure to comply with the silica regulations and control measures may result in action and fines issued against the company.

If you need assistance on applicable workplace laws to your business, please contact our Workplace Relations and Legal Team on 02 6175 5900.