Silicosis – Occupational Lung Disease

Silicosis is a lung disease caused by prolonged exposure to and inhalation of crystalline silica dust, a substance found in sand, stone, concrete and mortar. Silica dust (a quartz based dust) causes fibrosis (scarring) of the lung tissue which affects the lungs ability to exchange gases. The development of the fibrosis can take years before symptoms present.
Silicosis can present as asthma like symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Shortness of breath with minor exertion,
  • A regular cough or wheeze,
  • Occasional chest pain/tightness and;
  • Minor fatigue.

*Illness may also result in greater respiratory discomfort.

While Silicosis can be managed by your GP, prevention is your best cause of action. That is why minimising the risk, and using personal protective equipment is essential in high risk environments. Early detection is also important for people who have been working in these high risk environments for prolonged periods of time.

If you have concerns about your health, or the health of employees, please contact us.

We provide health assessments for individuals who may have concerns, and medicals for employers to utilise as part of their workplace health and safety policies.

Lung Health Assessment

Employees

Access a lung health assessment for peace of mind. If you have concerns about your exposure to harmful particles, chemicals, silica dust or coal dust, then talk to your GP about a lung health assessment. Call one of the practices below for a consultation.

Occupational Medicals

Employers

Occupational medicals provide employers with a way to assess both the fitness and safety of employees. Regular medicals allow for the early detection of chronic diseases and health risks. To enquire about the medicals we can provide you please email medicals@australiandoctors.com.au.

Silicosis for retirees

Retirees

Many retirees may have missed out on the benefits of personal protective equipment and workplace risk management. If you were exposed to potentially harmful environments, then it might be worth talking to your GP about the impact on your health. Call one of the practices below for a consultation.

Participating Clinics

Brisbane Region

Central/North QLD

Northern NSW

Industries at Risk:

Occupations that work with sand, stone, concrete or mortar products are subject to some level of risk of silica dust exposure. Consequently, that level of risk varies depending on the volume of silica dust being produced within the work environment. Mechanical processes such as cutting, drilling, grinding, crushing and polishing can generate large volumes of silica dust. Industries known for higher risk levels are:

  • Mining (both below ground tunnelling and open cut mines/quarries)
  • Concrete production
  • Brick production
  • Construction
  • Road works
  • Masonry

High risk activities include blasting, excavating, tunnelling, drilling, cutting, grinding, operation of jackhammers, cleaning and dismantling dust covered equipment.

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Qualifications & Accreditations

Every Family Practice Medical Centre is equipped with:

  • AGPAL Accreditation
  • Calibrated Spirometers
  • Highly trained EPC teams