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  • Victorian stonemason Karl Hanson had to give up the job he loved after it led to deadly lung disease

    Author: AAP

Victorian father-of-five Karl Hanson loved his job as a stonemason, but it left his lungs riddled with the deadly disease silicosis, and inspired a plea to ban hazardous building materials.

The 41-year-old had to down tools in November after having trouble breathing, with scans showing a dire decline in his lung health.

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"I knew I was having trouble breathing, I could not walk up hills, could not kick the footy with the kids for more than five minutes and then started getting checks," Mr Hanson told AAP.

Cases such as his have prompted the Victorian government to crack down on practices including dry sawing which creates problematic dust, then ingested by stonemasons. Sector workers would also be entitled to free lung scans.

Last year WorkSafe received 28 claims for silica-related conditions and 15 Victorian workers have died from the condition since 1985.


Mr Hanson had multiple CT scans before being diagnosed with silicosis in October.

Within eight months, his upper and middle lungs were filled with tissue growths, he said.

"It is a good possibility it is accelerated silicosis but over the next year or two we will see," he added.

Every six months Mr Hanson has scans but will eventually need a lung transplant.

The Victorian government has also announced increased inspections at workshops and work sites to help prevent the disease.

"These changes need to come now and they need to come fast," Mr Hanson urged.

"If the authorities cannot get this under control maybe they need to ban the use of man-made stone because that is what is causing this."

Shine Lawyers is representing Mr Hanson in a compensation suit and the company has campaigned for tougher regulations in the stone industry.


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