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Reminder: Air monitoring required when commencing work with crystalline silica material


We have recently received several enquiries questioning the necessity to perform air monitoring when working with crystalline silica containing material.

Members are reminded that the requirement to perform air monitoring when working with crystalline silica containing material is contained in section 50 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (ACT). The ACT Government published its Work Health and Safety (Managing the Risks of Airborne Crystalline Silica (Silica Dust) in the Workplace Code of Practice) 2023 to assist PCBUs with understanding their responsibilities to manage the risks associated with silica dust.

The PCBU should ensure that air monitoring is conducted to determine the airborne concentration of silica dust in a worker’s breathing zone. A PCBU must ensure that no person at the workplace is exposed to silica dust at a concentration above the workplace exposure standard, which is an eight-hour time weighted average (TWA) of 0.05 milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m3). Air monitoring should be undertaken by a competent person, such as an occupational hygienist, and the report prepared must be readily available to workers and retained for 30 years.  Once a baseline has been established, air monitoring should be undertaken at least every 12 months, or in response to a trigger event such as the implementation of new work practices or control measures.

Failure to conduct air monitoring is an offence of the WHS Act and may result in penalties to the PCBU.

If you have any questions regarding your work health and safety responsibilities, please reach out to our Workplace Relations and Legal Team on 02 6175 5900.