..

Business News

  • Written by Shine Lawyers


Calls for national ban on dry cutting techniques and tougher penalties amid new cases of tradies sick from toxic dustLeading plaintiff law firm Shine Lawyers is calling for a national ban on dry cutting practises in stonemasonry workshops. It comes after seeing an increase in the number of tradies falling ill from breathing in dust created when cutting artificial stone products.

Shine Lawyers is now speaking with half a dozen tradesmen from around the country, who have all contracted the deadly lung disease, silicosis, while working in businesses cutting artificial stone products used for kitchen and bathroom benchtops.

“The current method of dry cutting artificial stone creates plumes of dust which if inhaled over long periods can potentially lead to silicosis. We know wet cutting, using water to damp down the dust, is much safer but there is no regulation of the industry to enforce this practise,” explains Shine Lawyers Dust Diseases expert Roger Singh.

“We are now speaking with stonemasons who tell us that despite the awareness that’s been raised the dry cutting continues in their workplaces and wet cutting systems, and enforcement of proper face masks, that could prevent disease are not being installed. We cannot let this continue. Australians deserve safe workplaces,” said Mr Singh. 

“We have to learn from the awful legacy of asbestos and take action now to prevent more of our young stonemasons succumbing to what is a horrific disease and in some instances a terrible death,” said Mr Singh.

Shine Lawyers is calling on all State and Territory governments to make regulation and enforcement of artificial stone work practises a priority to improve health outcomes for stonemasons.

“I have written to all State and Territory Ministers in a bid to have dry cutting banned and an investigation and enforcement program introduced to ensure these dangerous practises are being stamped out,” said Mr Singh.

Shine Lawyers would like to see the introduction of tougher penalties and fines for workshops that don’t comply.

Stonemasons currently working in the industry are being urged to see a doctor for a health check and lung scan.

CLIENT STORY:

Anthony White is a 36 year old stonemason from the Gold Coast. He has handled and cut artificial  stone products for the last decade. He was diagnosed with silicosis in November 2017. 
 
“I want to make sure no one else has to go through this. It’s been absolutely horrendous for me and my family who have had to watch me get sicker and sicker. I had a chest infection that wouldn’t go away and mum noticed I was losing a lot of weight.  When I went to the doctor they sent me for all kinds of test and chest xrays and diagnosed me with silicosis,” said Mr White.
 
“Wearing protective gear wasn’t policed at any of my workplaces. There was so much dust flying around, you could feel the grit on your teeth and taste the dust in your mouth, but I didn’t think it was a problem. I had no idea it could make you this sick,” said Mr White.
 
“I would personally like to see rules enforced so nobody cuts it dry in any workplace anywhere in Australia. It’s dangerous and it’s putting lives at risk,” warns Mr White.
 
BACKGROUND ENGINEERED STONE/SILICOSIS:
  • Artificial or engineered stone contains a much higher percentage (95%) of silica than natural stone
  • The dust that is created when artificial  stone is being shaped or cut, when inhaled over long periods or at extreme levels, can cause debilitating lung diseases including silicosis
  • Artificial  stone is safe when it is installed as a finished product, it is only the dust from cutting that is dangerous
  • Silicosis is a progressive, irreversible lung disease cause by inhaling the dust which becomes trapped in the lungs, causing fibrotic nodules and scarring and impacting the ability to breathe
  • Silicosis can take 10 – 15 years to develop, it often starts with a cough that won’t go away
  • In 2017 a Queensland Parliamentary inquiry into Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (Black Lung) heard silica was “more dangerous than coalmine dust”
  • Brisbane Tunnel workers were exposed to silica during the construction of the road network in 2017
LINKS TO INFORMATION

Cancer Council information and statistics on Silicosis https://www.cancer.org.au/content/Preventing%20cancer/workplace/2017/2017-10-09-Silica-Factsheet-Final.pdf

Australian Lung Foundation
http://lungfoundation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Silica-fact-sheet.pdf

ABOUT SHINE LAWYERS:
  • Shine Lawyers has been operating for more than 40 years as a leading law company and specialises in damages-based plaintiff litigation.
  • It has 39 branches spanning across Australia and New Zealand.
  • The leading national company has delivered justice to more than 40,000 people to date.
  • Shine Corporate Ltd has been listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) since May 2013.

Brava Lingerie

Brava Lingerie’s Customer Service The Perfect Fit; 2018 eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards winners When Lin Windram and daughter Maxine launched Brava Lingerie 12 years ago due to their own negati...

Australian handmade soaps woo China buyers

Natural handmade soaps are experiencing a boom across mainland China with households prepared to pay a premium to buy them.    Driven by a growing disillusionment with cosmetics products that contai...

How to Improve the Work Environment for Employees

As an employer, there are many things it takes to hold a business together. As well as ensuring you market it and keep a steady stream of income, managing your employees effectively is also critical...

Guiding you Safely with AustralianCasinoClub

If you’re hunting for the very best advice on the Australian casino industry, we have found an interesting and informative site for you to visit called AustralianCasinoClub. In this guide to one of ...

Fusion Sport raises $3 million to drive global expansion

Fusion Sport, a global leader in human performance management software, has raised more than $3 million to expand its global sales and marketing capabilities.   The funding round was led by Sydney...

Changes retailers must make to attract more online shoppers

Research reveals the changes retailers need to make to attract more online shoppers   3 in 4 (74%) shoppers need free returns to incentivise them to do all their shopping online 65% want to be ...

Politics

George Neophytou - Don’t be taken for granted

George Neophytou George Neophytou, independent candidate for Gippsland East is concerned our electorate is being taken for granted. For too long Gippsland East has been the electorate that Labor...

Prime Minister's media conference at Glenelg

DOORSTOP WITH PREMIER OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA HON STEVEN MARSHALL MP, MINISTER FOR DEFENCE, THE HON CHRISTOPHER PYNE MP AND NICOLLE FLINT MP, MEMBER FOR BOOTHBY GLENELG, SA SUNDAY 14 OCTOBER 2018 SUBJEC...

Canavan calls out Shorten’s resources schtick

Resources Minister Matt Canavan has called on Labor to state one clear position – just one, not two or three - on the future of Australia’s thermal coal industry.   Following a string of confused ...

Travel

The Best Moment of Your Life from Lonely Planet

Discover 100 Life-Changing Travel Experiences with The Best Moment of Your Life from Lonely Planet What’s the best moment of your life? It’s a simple question to ask, but a more challenging one t...

Travel expert Anthony Goldman outlines what's trending for elite travellers

LOVERS OF LUXE DRIVING TRAVEL TRENDS   Travel expert Anthony Goldman outlines what’s trending for elite travellers in 2019 and beyond…   Media Release – 15 October 2018 - Travellers are splurgin...

End of year travel can deliver big benefits if booked on certain credit cards

With more than 56% percent of the Australian population now owning a passport, it is no surprise the Australia Government recorded over nine million trips overseas at 2017 financial year end.   A wh...