Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is a known hazard generated when manipulating products and materials containing silica that can lead to lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease. It is estimated that 230 Australians a year will develop lung cancer due to past exposure. This risk is predominantly born by construction workers, alongside miners, farmers, and engineers. Recent years have seen a notable rise in silica-related illness and death, particularly evident in Queensland and linked to an increase of engineered stone. It is estimated that in 2011, approximately 587,000 Australians were exposed to silica dust whilst working, and that 5758 will eventually develop lung cancer. Workers in engineered stone benchtop manufacturing, finishing and installation are at particular risk, as this comparatively new material contains up to 95% crystalline silica, as distinct from natural stone’s crystalline silica composition of 5%-50%. The focus of the Silica Safety project is to develop appropriate competency standards to meet the particular risks posed by RCS in building and construction.

Stage 1
Stage 2
Draft 1
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5
AISC submission
Stage 6
Skills Ministers
Stage 6

This project was completed on the 19th of September, 2022.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) reached a decision at their 17 August 2022 meeting regarding the Silica Safety Project:

The Committee noted Skills Ministers endorsed updates to three of four units for the CPC Construction Plumbing and Services Training Package – Silica Safety Awareness Project approved by the Committee at its 12 April 2022 meeting. The remaining unit (CPCSIL1001 Prepare to work safely with products and materials containing crystalline silica) was not endorsed, with Skills Ministers citing safety concerns in complying with the unit’s assessment conditions.

Click here to view the AISC Meeting Communique.

The endorsed components are expected to be published on by early September 2022.

Artibus Innovation would like to thank all members of public and industry who contributed to the Silica Safety Project.

Case for Endorsement - Silica Safety
CPC Companion Volume Release 8.0
Units of Competency - Silica Safety
Contact: Charles Donnelly
Project last updated: September 2022
This project has had 10363 visitors.