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WorkSafe ACT is Inspecting Sites to Ensure Compliance with New Silica Dust Regulations


WorkSafe ACT is carrying out inspections on construction sites to ensure PCBUs are complying with the new silica dust regulations. Prohibition and infringement notices have been issued to PCBUs who are non-compliant.

Members are reminded that the cutting of crystalline silica material using a power tool or another mechanical process is now a high risk activity and requires a Safe Work Method Statement before carrying out the work.

If silica dust cannot be eliminated, PCBUs must ensure the correct control measures are used. The silica dust regulations require the following control measures must be used as a minimum when cutting engineering stone or silica containing materials.

When cutting engineering stone, you must have a continuous feed of water over the cutting area, plus one other silica control measure plus respiratory protective equipment.

When modifying silica-containing materials (other than engineered stone), you must:

  1. use a continuous flow of water over the cutting site,
  2. where 1 is not practicable, then a dust suppression method plus one other silica control measure is to be used,
  3. where 2 is not practicable, on tool dust extraction plus one other silica control measure is to be used,
  4. where 3 is not reasonably practicable, just a wet suppression method or on tool extraction or a fully enclosed cabin can be used, and
  5. where 4 is not reasonably practicable, one silica control measure plus RPE must be used.

When working with silica containing material, RPE should be worn at all times to manage any remaining/residual risk of exposure to silica dust.

Mandatory Silica training – all workers in the specified occupations and those who are reasonably expected to be exposed to airborne silica dust as part of their work must complete the silica training before 1 October 2023. In light of the upcoming school holidays, members are reminded that silica training applies to students on work placements, students and other casual workers and anyone else reasonably expected to be exposed to respirable crystalline silica as part of their work.

If you are unsure of your obligations in relation to silica dust safety, please contact our Workplace Relations and Legal Team on (02) 6175 5900.