Using the Accelerated Silicosis Assessment Pathway
By Jarrod Williams, Ministry of Health
25 October 2022
In late 2020, the Ministry of Health, WorkSafe, and ACC established a health assessment pathway to identify, assess, diagnose and support engineered stone workers who may be at risk of accelerated silicosis.
Accelerated silicosis is a progressive type of silicosis which can occur after exposure to large amounts of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust. It typically develops over three to 10 years, but there have been cases overseas after less than one year of exposure.
Who is the pathway for?
The Accelerated Silicosis Assessment Pathway is for workers at risk of exposure to high concentrations of crystalline silica found in engineered (artificial) stone products, such as kitchen benchtops.
Workers who have worked with engineered stone benchtops for more than six months in the last 10 years are encouraged to visit their general practitioner to have a health check for RCS exposure.
Lodging a claim
GPs are encouraged to lodge a claim with ACC for assessment of accelerated silicosis if the exposure threshold and eligibility criteria (more than six months working with engineered stone in the last 10 years) have been met.
A Silica Exposure pathway is also available on HealthPathways.
Uptake of the assessment pathway has not been as high as we hoped. As of January 2022, a total of 124 ACC claims had been lodged for assessment of accelerated silicosis, with 98 of these lodged since the introduction of the assessment pathway.
The Ministry encourages all general practice teams to familiarise themselves with the assessment pathway to support their patients if they present with exposure to RCS. Further information is available on the following websites: