NT WorkSafe is visiting dozens of businesses to highlight the risk of silica exposure to their workers.

NT WorkSafe has started a compliance campaign following a national spike in workers diagnosed with the fatal lung disease silicosis. The authority will visit 34 businesses in Darwin, Palmerston, Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek over the next three months.

WorkSafe Inspectors will raise awareness in these businesses of silicosis and review the control measures in place to manage the risk of silica dust.

Workers involved in cutting or polishing engineered or manufactured stone at the businesses potentially have a medium to high risk of silica exposure.

NT WorkSafe Director Operations Neil Burgess said workers cutting or polishing engineered or manufactured stone face the highest risk from silica exposure, however the risk could be reduced if appropriate control measures were in place.

“The engineered stone benchtop manufacturing industry in the Northern Territory is small compared to the eastern states and there have been no confirmed cases of silicosis in the Territory,” said Mr Burgess.

“Despite this, WorkSafe Inspectors will visit a number of at risk businesses identified across the Territory over the coming weeks to ensure the control measures are in place to protect Territory workers.

“The majority of the identified businesses are involved in kitchen and bathroom renovations, or are stone suppliers.

“WorkSafe Inspectors will be issuing improvement and prohibition notices to businesses that don’t have appropriate control measures.

“There is also a legislative requirement for an employer to provide health monitoring to their workers who may have been exposed to silica.

“WorkSafe Inspectors will be checking if appropriate health monitoring has been provided to workers.”

A 22-year-old Gold Coast last week became one of the youngest in the country to be diagnosed with silicosis.

More information is available here.