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Reduced exposure limits for Silica dust from 1 July

New reduced Silica dust exposure levels come into effect across Australia from 1 July 2020.

The new maximum exposure level for an 8-hour shift will be 0.05mg/m3 down from the previous 0.1mg/m3

Silica Dust

This is a significant reduction from the previous limit and reflects just how serious uncontrolled exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) dust can be. RCS dust is produced when drilling, grinding, cutting or using abrasive processes on any concrete, stone, tile or ceramic materials.

PCBU’s are encouraged to revisit their current approach to Silica dust to ensure they will meet their obligations with respect to the new standard.

Safe Work Australia released the national guidance document: ‘Working with silica and silica containing products’ in September 2019 to assist PCBU’s manage the risks.

Access the guide

MEA has updated all Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) templates which identify RCS as a hazard, to reflect the new exposure limit. The updated SWMS include:

  • Cable support*
  • Chasing walls*
  • Delivery and erection of light poles*
  • Demolition and dismantling
  • Excavation and trenching
  • Installation of solar panels*
  • Power tools*
  • Rough in and fit off*
  • Working on self-contained low charge systems*

*Indicates SWMS available only to ME Safety Essential and Pro subscribers.

SWMS can be found in the Master Documents > SWMS folder in ME Safety.

MEA recommends that all companies review their Silica dust controls to ensure they have the best possible systems in place to reduce the risk of RCS dust, to as low as reasonably practicable.

If you need help, please contact MEA on 1300 889 198 or talk to your nearest Field Support Advisor.

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