If you or your workers are carrying out crystalline silica processes outside of the engineered stone industry, you will need to identify whether they meet the definition of ‘high-risk’ crystalline silica work.
Do you carry out crystalline silica processes?
The OHS Regulations define a crystalline silica process as one or more of the following:
- The use of a power tool or other forms of mechanical plant to:
- Cut, grind, polish or crush material containing crystalline silica; or
- Carry out any other activity involving material containing crystalline silica that generates crystalline silica dust.
- The use of a roadheader on an excavated face if the material in the face contains crystalline silica.
- A process that exposes a person to crystalline silica dust arising from the manufacture or handling of material that contains crystalline silica;
- The mechanical screening of crushed material containing crystalline silica;
- A quarrying process involving material containing crystalline silica;
- A tunnelling process involving material containing crystalline silica;
- A process determined by the Authority to be a crystalline silica process.
What this means for you
You will be required to identify and manage ‘high-risk’ crystalline silica work. High risk crystalline silica work is defined as work performed in connection with a crystalline silica process that is likely to result in:
- an airborne concentration of respirable crystalline silica that exceeds half the exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica; or
- a risk to the health of a person at the workplace.
Identify high-risk crystalline silica work
Before you begin work, you can complete a risk assessment to identify if the crystalline silica process(s) you perform are highrisk. Alternatively, you can choose to identify these processes as high-risk without undertaking the risk assessment.
If a risk assessment is completed, a record must be made outlining how the matters listed were taken into account and whether or not the process(s) are high risk. This record must be made accessible to any employee who may be exposed to crystalline silica dust.
“If a risk assessment is completed, a record must be made outlining how the matters listed were taken into account and whether or not the process(s) are high risk. This record must be made accessible to any employee who may be exposed to crystalline silica dust.”
Develop a crystalline silica hazard control statement (CSHCS)
If the work has been identified as high-risk, an employer or a self-employed person must prepare a crystalline silica hazard control statement (CSHCS) before the work commences. If the high-risk crystalline silica work is not in accordance with the CSHCS, work must stop until it is done in a way that complies with the CSHCS.
What is a crystalline silica hazard control statement (CSHCS)?
A crystalline silica hazard control statement (CSHCS) is a document prepared by an employer or self-employed person to cover any high risk crystalline silica work performed at their workplace, that:
- states the hazards and risks associated with that work; and
- sufficiently describes measures to control those risks;
- describes how the risk control measures are to be implemented; and
- if an analysis is required under regulation 319O, contains the results of that analysis; and
- is set out and expressed in a way that is readily accessible and comprehensible to the persons who use it.
If the high-risk crystalline silica work is also classified as high-risk construction work under the OHS regulations (eg demolition work that generates crystalline silica dust), and a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) has been prepared that outlines the matters required within a CSHCS, then a separate CSHCS is not required.
Do you work in quarrying or tunnelling?
If the high risk work involves quarrying or tunnelling, then samples must be collected and analysed to identify the proportion of crystalline silica in each sample by a suitably qualified person.
Further information on the new requirements can be found here.