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Workers on the Canterbury rebuild in New Zealand are being exposed to high levels of crystallised silica dust, says a new study.

The Massey University pilot study commission by WorkSafe New Zealand assessed 39 construction workers involved in the Canterbury rebuild for exposure to silica dust and the controls used to manage the exposure.

Inhalation of silica dust can cause the lung disease silicosis.

Among the study’s findings, 12 of the workers were exposed to dust samples that exceeded the New Zealand workplace exposure standard for respirable dust.

“The majority of samples exceeding these limits were collected from concrete polishers and grinders with average respirable dust concentrations of 15.2mg/m3 and 13.8mg/m3, respectively,” the study says.

“Drilling and Linea board cutting was also associated with higher dust levels, with one in four samples exceeding New Zealand (and international) standards.”

Also, many construction workers were not using respiratory protection, and those who were wearing it were not using it properly.

For more details, visit WorkSafe New Zealand

Published on 30 July 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.


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