Respiratory hazards: Our goals

Priority three sets out WorkSafe's key priorities in regards to respiratory hazards.


Drive improvements in the workplace management of hazardous dusts and protect workers from harm. 


  • Improves PCBU and worker awareness of the health risks of silica, asbestos and other hazardous dusts, and how to comply with the applicable WHS laws.
  • Industry compliance with applicable WHS laws to eliminate or reduce exposure to hazardous dusts. 



Workers in building trades, foundries, stonemasonry, infrastructure, tunnelling, mining and landscaping roles maybe exposed. Increase in silicosis cases since 2017. National Dust Disease Taskforce's Final report to Minister for Health and Aged Care (2021) contains desired outcomes. Safe Work Australia's proposal to prohibit use of high silica engineered stone.


About 4,000 deaths per year in Australia are attributed to asbestos-related diseases. There is a National strategic plan for asbestos awareness and management 2019-2023, and subsequent national plan is being developed. 

Other hazardous dusts

Lead, arsenic, nickel, wood, diesel particulates and radioactive dusts can be hazards in some Western Australian workplaces (eg. mining, timber industry). 

Focus areas

  • Engineered stone industry
  • Construction industry
  • Those potentially exposed to asbestos-containing materials (ACM)
  • Mining sector

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