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Changes to health surveillance in WA

April 07, 2021

Does your business work with products containing crystalline silica?  Ensure you are prepared for the coming changes to employer safety obligations for health surveillance.

On 15 April 2021 changes to WA’s safety laws will change the type of test workers must have when they are exposed to crystalline silica.

Does your business work with products containing crystalline silica?  Ensure you are prepared for the coming changes to employer safety obligations for health surveillance.

What is health surveillance?

 Every business is required to provide health surveillance for their workers if the worker is at risk of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. This includes inhaling crystalline silica dust when cutting, grinding or working with manufactured stone products.

Health surveillance consists of a series of assessments and scans and is paid for by the employer. The surveillance process must be undertaken periodically under the supervision of an appointed medical practitioner. These requirements are not new, but the safety standard for working with silica has also recently changed from 0.1 to 0.05mg/m³, meaning more workers may now require health surveillance.

New health test required

 Workers undergoing health surveillance due to their risk of exposure to respirable crystalline silica will need to have a high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scan instead of an x-ray.

Employers may need to assess whether this change has cost implications for their business, as costs may vary depending on location.  HIA is investigating the availability of scanning facilities in regional areas and will provide this information to members in due course.

Support for members

Members can access HIA’s resources on crystalline silica (seminars, information sheets and articles) now and more information is on the way.

Contact HIA's Workplace Services, Technical and Safety teams

1300 650 620