WorkSafe has extended a key partnership providing free health screening for Victorian workers at risk of the lung disease silicosis.
Published:18 August 2023
More than 600 stonemasons have now had a comprehensive health assessment and received their diagnosis at the Alfred Occupational Respiratory Clinic since it was launched in July 2021.
Workers access a range of diagnostic tools and specialists during a single day at the clinic, increasing the likelihood of early-stage diagnosis and reducing the stress of multiple visits.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said the partnership with The Alfred to deliver Australia's only dedicated public hospital occupational respiratory clinic has now been extended until July 2026.
"This clinic plays such a crucial role in the health journey of so many Victorian workers facing an uncertain future and this ongoing collaboration will see that world-class care continue," Dr Beer said.
WorkSafe supports the clinic by taking calls from workers, families, and employers before completing referrals for eligible workers and providing assistance with any claim lodgements.
Many of Victoria's past and present stonemasons had previously registered with WorkSafe's own free silica health screening program, which commenced in May 2019 and supported more than 1100 workers.
Tragically, WorkSafe has now received 630 silicosis-related compensation claims following a positive diagnosis.
Dr Beer said there was much more work to be done to better understand the impacts of engineered stone and increase the quality of life of injured workers.
"We will continue to do everything within our power to ensure employers are reducing the risks to health and safety and continue to hold them to account when they fail to protect their workers."
Victorian employers in the stonemason industry can use the free assessment at the Alfred Occupational Respiratory Clinic to meet their health monitoring duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.
To confirm eligibility and book an appointment at the Alfred Occupational Respiratory Clinic, call WorkSafe's Silica Advisors on 1800 136 089 (option 1 then option 3) for a referral.