Silica Dust (RCS) SWMS


Safety Warning Silica Dust

Silica Dust (Working near Respirable Crystalline Silica)

Recently there has been increased media coverage on the dangers of RCS (Respirable Crystalline Silica) or Silica Dust as it is known in the Construction Industry.  A recent audit has revealed that it is "a major epidemic worse than asbestos"(ABC Report 20/2/19).

The serious health issues relating to Silica Dust include Silicosis (an aggressive incurable occupational lung disease), lung cancer and kidney disease.  Silicosis is caused by breathing in unsafe levels of the dust, which causes scarring and hardening of the lungs. However, the Cancer Council warn that 'there is no evidence to support a safe level of silica dust exposure' (Medical Review Nov 2016).

Silica Dust (RCS) is affecting most construction workers on a regular basis.  This includes but is not limited to builders, carpenters, engineers, concretors, renderers, bricklayers, demolition workers, cabinet makers, plasterers, painters, plumbers, electricians, tilers, and any associated contractors entering a construction site.  Silica Dust can be found in a variety of products used on a construction project and following Safety Data Sheets for all products is critical to identify materials containing RCS. 

It is vital that the construction industry and all associated trades are not only aware, but take immediate action to effectively manage the health risks associated when working with, near or around Silica Dust.

Positive Action you can take right now.

  • Ensure that your documentation is updated to include RCS Silica Dust safety procedures in your WHS Management Plan or Site Safety Plan.

  • Add an RCS Silica Dust SWMS to to your safety pack immediately (Construction WHS Consultants have developed a new Silica Dust RCS (Working with or near Respirable Crystalline Silica) SWMS.

  • Ensure you identify the correct RPE (Respiratory Protection Equipment) to wear when working with, near or around RCS. 

  • Business owners, builders and trade contractors must have workers fit tested (RPE Masks) and instructed in the safe use and maintenance of the respiratory protective equipment (RPE).  This fit test must be done prior to starting work.

  • Strictly follow work health and safety procedures when cleaning up your work site as per the RCS Silica Dust SWMS.

  • Assist your mates in the industry and forward this warning on.


For more information about site specific Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) customised for your business call 1300 881 928.