Work options for stonemasons and people working with crystalline silica

Frequently asked questions about support that can be accessed when you work with crystalline silica and make a claim for workers compensation.

Free health assessments for stonemasons

The silicosis health assessment program through the Alfred Occupational Respiratory Clinic (AORC) is for eligible workers in the Victorian stonemason industry. To find out if you are eligible contact WorkSafe's Silica Advisory on the details below.

For more information or to start your health assessment call WorkSafe's Silica Advisory on 1800 136 089 (option 1, then option 3) or email [email protected].

An interpreter can be arranged so that you can hear information in your own language. Please ask for an interpreter when you call or email.

Can I keep doing my normal work during the health assessment program?

Yes, you can continue your usual work during your health assessment.

You will undergo a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary health assessment during a one day attendance at the AORC. At the end of the day you will receive your health outcome and a management plan.

A specialised medical practitioner will advise if you should not return to your regular work.

What happens if I’m given the all clear from my health assessment?

When you have completed your health assessment, if the medical practitioner says that you can continue working as normal then you can continue your regular work.

Depending on your circumstances your medical practitioner may advise that you can return to your regular work with changes to your work environment or work duties. It is important you follow the advice of your medical practitioner.

It is best that you have your health regularly monitored, so you will need to attend follow up appointments as recommended by the medical practitioner. At the conclusion of the screening, the AORC will recommend when a follow up assessment should take place, and whether that assessment is to be done at the AORC or with an alternate medical practitioner.

If I am diagnosed with silicosis, should I leave my job?

If you are diagnosed with silicosis you are likely to be medically advised not to return to your usual stonemasonry work. You should follow the recommendations of your medical practitioner who is the best person to provide you with advice on your work capacity.

If I have to leave my job, how will I earn money?

If you are diagnosed with silicosis or a silica-related illness as a result of work related exposure to crystalline silica, you may be able to make a claim to receive workers compensation. An accepted claim for silicosis or a silica-related illness will provide weekly payments that will help to replace your income. Your weekly benefits will be based on the specific circumstances of your case.

Reasonable medical costs will also be covered by an accepted claim. Make sure you provide your claim number to your treating health professionals.

If you need to make a claim, contact WorkSafe Silica Advisory and they will guide you through the process.

You can find more information about claims and compensation at worksafe.vic.gov.au or call WorkSafe's Silica Advisory on 1800 136 089 (option 1, then option 3).

I don’t know how to do another job. Can I get re-training and help looking for new work?

If your workers compensation claim for silicosis or a silica-related illness is accepted, the case manager looking after your claim will speak with you about what options are available.

If you and your doctor agree that you are ready to think about work options, you will be referred to an occupational rehabilitation provider, who will help you look at the best re-training options for you. In most cases re-training will be paid for under your claim.

Some examples of re-training other stonemasons are doing include:

  • electrician apprenticeship
  • roof plumbing apprenticeship
  • truck/bus driving licence
  • kitchen design or interior design course
  • Protective Services Officer (PSO) course
  • computer course (with the aim to work in trade supplies)

What type of environment will be safe for me to work in?

Medical advice is that dusty environments or extremes of temperature should be avoided by people with silicosis. Your occupational rehabilitation provider will work with you and your doctor to find future work options which are right for you.

I am feeling worried and anxious. Is there someone I can talk to?

You can access mental health services at any time through your GP, whether you have a workers compensation claim or not.

I still have questions, who should I speak to?

WorkSafe has a dedicated Silica Advisor to answer your questions and talk to you about your options. Speak to a Silica Advisor on 1800 136 089 (option 1, then option 3) or email [email protected]

An interpreter can be arranged so that you can hear information in your own language. Please ask for an interpreter when you call or email.

If you are a member of a union, you can also contact your union for assistance and advice.