From Hire to Retire

And everything in between.

Partner with UsRequest a Service


Helping People

Be healthy safe and productive at work.

Contact UsOur Locations


Partnering with Businesses

To Create Health Certainty.

Partner with UsOur Services


Come for the Challenges

Stay for the Journey.

Visit KINNECT CareersFind a Job


Technology Enabled

Occupational Health

Request a DemoLog In

Supporting Qld’s new respirable crystalline silica dust code for construction & manufacturing

Announcements 11 Oct 2023

Australia’s first code for managing Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) dust exposure in the construction and manufacturing industries took effect in Queensland on 1 May 2023.  It’s hoped that the code will stem the increasing number of diagnosed and non-diagnosed silicosis and lung cancer cases suffered by workers in these industries by reducing the chance for future cases. For many workers who have already been exposed, it may be too late to stop the disease from happening but by minimising their current and future exposure we might be able to slow disease progression or stop significant damage from occurring.

The Managing Respirable Crystalline Silica Dust Exposure in Construction and Manufacturing of Elements Code of Practice 2022 is being implemented by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and applies to the use of materials including bricks, blocks, tiles, mortar and concrete that may generate RCS in any manufacturing or construction work activity.

RCS is a hazardous fine dust that is created by cutting, sawing, drilling, polishing, scabbling and crushing materials that contain crystalline silica including:

  • Bricks
  • Concrete and cement
  • Engineered stone
  • Natural stone like granite or sandstone
  • Fibre cement products
  • Grout, mortar, sand and asphalt

RCS is dangerous when breathed in which can lead to serious lung diseases such as silicosis (acute, accelerated, or chronic depending on length of exposure) and lung cancer. These diseases can result in permanent disability or death. Workplace exposure to RCS has also been associated with autoimmune and arthritic diseases.

Unfortunately, RCS is so fine that it can’t be seen and can linger in the air for hours. It’s also released back into the air when dust is stirred up during sweeping or when compressed air is being used.

What the new Respirable Crystalline Silica code includes

The code applies to all construction work and manufacturing tasks that involve:

  • Using materials that contain 1 percent or more crystalline silica content
  • Generate RCS or make RCS airborne

The code outlines the absolute minimum requirements for duty holders to meet the legislative requirements and help protect their workers by reducing or removing RCS dust exposure by implementing:

  • Tested control methods that include water suppression and on-tool dust extraction
  • Respiratory protective equipment
  • Air monitoring to collect exposure data
  • Regular health monitoring for at-risk workers
  • Consultation with workers
  • Training and education programs
  • On-the-job instruction and supervision

The current workplace exposure standard (WES) for RCS, is 0.05 milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m3) over an 8-hour period. Because of the nature of the harm caused, the regulators are looking at lowering this level even further. The code states that controls must be in place to ensure workers aren’t exposed to RCS higher than the WES and to take measures to remove or reduce the risk of RCS as far as reasonably possible.

The code offers comprehensive guidance in the form of a table of controls which sets out engineering and work practice control methods, respiratory protective equipment and health monitoring controls for common tasks and equipment. The code also guides employers on how to identify RCS hazards and choose the right controls. It provides examples of an RCS Dust Control Plan and Safe Work Method Statement to make compliance straightforward.

While there are no bans on RCS containing materials yet (for example engineered stone), the code points to prohibitions on certain activities in manufacturing or construction workplaces:

  1. Workers should not be allowed to undertake “uncontrolled dry cutting or processing of materials that contain 1 percent or more crystalline silica,”
  2. Workers should not be allowed to “use, direct or allow a worker to use any material with >1 per cent crystalline silica for abrasive blasting.”

We encourage employers to download and review the Managing respirable crystalline silica dust exposure in construction and manufacturing of construction elements Code of Practice 2022 (

How KINNECT can help companies adhere to the code?

KINNECT’s staff are well-educated in the dangers of RCS and the preventative measures employers can take to reduce the risk of disease. KINNECT can provide: health risk assessments, compliant health monitoring medicals, ongoing respirator fit testing programs, and fit checking education, to help employers adhere to the new code.

Our services are overseen by Chief Occupational Physician, Dr Graeme Edwards – an occupational medicine specialist and RACP Fellow. Dr Edwards is a vocal advocate for cohesive federal-level action to limit RCS exposure in at-risk industries and served as a member of the National Dust Disease Taskforce. He believes that stricter compliance with existing laws is needed to protect workers from the risks of exposure to RCS and that the Code helps employers and worker to know what they should be doing.

In an article by the RACP, Dr Edwards said: “It’s important that we not only provide the best healthcare support to those who have tragically been diagnosed with silicosis – but also that we identify people who have already been exposed to the dust but not yet diagnosed.”

The good news is that illnesses like silicosis are entirely preventable by using tight controls (as per the new code) and regular screening to reinforce compliance. We hope that the code will result in fewer cases of life-limiting lung and auto-immune diseases and happier, healthier workplaces.

For more information on how we can support compliance with the new RCS code, visit our Health Monitoring Services page, contact us online, or call our team today on 1300 546 632.


Ready to partner with KINNECT?


Request a Service

Know what you need from us? Request a service from us right now.

Request a Service

Contact us

Need to speak with us? We’ll help direct your query to the right people.



Partner with us

Find out more about what KINNECT can do for your business.

Partner with KINNECT

Locate us

Have a need in a particular location? View our service capabilities throughout Australia.

Our locations