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  • A stonemason diagnosed with silicosis has urged for a call on silicosis risk

    Author: AAP

A stonemason who contracted a deadly lung disease while working on artificial stone products says a Queensland government audit into the issue doesn't go far enough.

The audit of 10 workplaces resulted in 26 people being found to be suffering from silicosis, six of whom are in the serious category.

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The progressive and irreversible disease is contracted by breathing in tiny particles of silica dust that settle in the lungs.

Industrial relations minister Grace Grace on Tuesday announced that the practise of "dry-cutting" engineered stone products had been identified as the cause of the silicosis instances.

Dry-cutting is technically already banned under workplace laws around safe work practises, but the government has cracked down on the practise and will change the relevant laws to explicitly ban it.


Stonemason Anthony White was diagnosed with silicosis in 2017 after working for a Gold Coast company.

Mr White said while it was too late for him, he was happy the government was taking steps to crack down on the industry.

But he said the government's measures didn't fully address the issue.

"We need all stonemasons informed of the grave risk of inhaling this dust, and we need more than just the Queensland government committing to these important legal changes."

"I'm lucky I don't have kids who won't have to see me suffer but my mates do and I really worry for them."

Ms Grace said she would write to her federal counterpart Kelly O'Dwyer to push for a national crackdown on the practise as well as set up federal screening for workers.

Engineered stone is becoming more common as a substitute for marble benchtops, but is made of around 90 per cent crystalline silica, one of the major causes of silicosis.


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