2nd July 2020

NSW has a comprehensive and strong regulatory scheme for managing dust risks, with specific mining health and safety legislation and the most stringent dust exposure standards in Australia.

The safety record of the mining industry in NSW has improved decade on decade for the last 40 years. However, there has been a recurrence of dust diseases in the mining industry in the last three years.

A recent increase in identified cases of coal worker pneumoconiosis and simple silicosis in the NSW mining industry has kept this issue an ongoing focus for the NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council.

Long term exposure to high concentrations of dust generated by mining and quarrying activities can cause disabling and potentially fatal lung diseases. The effects may not be immediately apparent. It may take 10, 15, 20 years after people first started to inhale the dust to develop symptoms.

Dust diseases such as silicosis and coal worker pneumoconiosis are preventable when appropriate safety measures are in place.

Mine operators and mine workers need to fully understand the risks associated with dust and put in place the controls to manage those risks.

On a day to day basis, workers need to take part in the dust reduction measures in their quarry or mine. They also need to make sure that they are part of a surveyance program and having regular chest x-rays and examinations. Taking the right steps will enable workers to live a long life and be there for their families into their retirement.

Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

The Take action to prevent dust disease campaign is designed to educate workers as well as quarry and mine operators of the risks associated with dust exposure and dust disease.

Further information

For further information view the campaign video and visit the Dust toolkit for resources.