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    Science of Safety Podcast: Episode 78.

    June 11, 2020
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    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 78:
    Engineered stone & silica - Part 2.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 78:
    Engineered stone & silica - Part 2.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 78:
    Engineered stone & silica - Part 2.

    In this episode, host Mark Reggers and guest Carolyn Topping, Acting Director of the Occupational Health and Hygiene Unit within Workplace Health and Safety Queensland continue where they left off and resume their discussion on the subject matter of engineered stone and silica.

    In recent years there has been much discussion surrounding engineered stone benchtops causing a resurgence in silicosis, a fatal and life-debilitating lung disease, amongst workers in the benchtop manufacturing, finishing and installation industries. Silica, one of the most common minerals on the planet found in both engineered and natural stone is an occupational hazard for those working with stone countertops due to their exposure to large volumes of toxic airborne silica.

      

             

        

    Guest Bio:

    Carolyn Topping (pictured left) is the Acting Director of the Occupational Health and Hygiene Unit within Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

    She is a workplace health and safety inspector and a Certified Occupational Hygienist. Carolyn has worked for Queensland government safety regulators for twenty years including the Office of Industrial Relations and Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

    Her team is leading significant interventions in occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica in Queensland.

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    In this episode, Mark & Carolyn discuss the following:

     
    • What are the hierarchy of control measures that engineered stone workplaces should consider implementing?
    • What is the difference between LEV and water controls?
    • Can workers be isolated as a control?
    • How important is housekeeping?
    • What information and training should workers be getting?
    • When it comes to the use of respirators in this specific industry, what are the regulators expectations in this area?
    • Is fit testing required for tight-fitting PAPR?
    • Do workers need to be clean-shaven with tight-fitting PAPR?
    • What controls could be used for workers installing benchtops?
    • What advice would you give to these workplaces when it comes to reviewing these controls?
    • Is health monitoring required?
    • What other hazards may be found in these workplaces that can’t be overlooked?
    • What takeaway points would you want to leave with our listeners?
    • Where can the listeners go to get further information about the Engineered Stone Industry and guidance material?
    • How can our listeners get in contact with yourself and WHSQ?

    Silicosis, a grave and fatal condition that has no cure, is a growing concern for engineered stone benchtop workers. Fabricating and installing natural and artificial stone benchtops releases high levels of respirable crystalline silica through the cutting, grinding and polishing processes, that if inhaled, can cause severe short and long term respiratory diseases. Tune in as we look at the risks faced by this industry working with engineered stone that can contain up to 95% silica, along with the control measures and respiratory protection required to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

     

    Additional Resources:

    Contact a 3M Safety Specialist at scienceofsafetyanz@mmm.com for more information.