Date of filling in this questionnaire or last update: 28/04/2021
1. IDENTIFICATION & BASIC DESCRIPTION
Cohort name
  The Silica-associated Lung Disease Projects
Country
 

  • Australia

Name
  Prof Malcolm Sim
Institution
  Monash University
Email
  Malcolm.Sim@monash.edu
Personal website
  https://research.monash.edu/en/persons/malcolm-sim
Do you want to add another Principal Investigator of the Cohort
 

  • Add another Principal Investigator of the cohort

Name
  Dr Ryan Hoy
Institution
  Monash University
Email
  Ryan.Hoy@monash.edu
Personal website
  https://research.monash.edu/en/persons/ryan-hoy
Website
 

  • https://www.monash.edu/medicine/sphpm/coeh/research/silica-associated-lung-disease-projects

Name of committee
  Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee
Or provide website
 

  • https://www.monash.edu/medicine/sphpm/coeh/research/silica-associated-lung-disease-projects

Contact Principal Investigator (name)
  Prof Malcolm Sim, Dr Ryan Hoy
Is this cohort part of a consortium? (name consortium)
  WorkSafe Victoria
Main aim of cohort, please briefly describe the main objectives of the cohort
  This population-based health assessment programme has been implemented with the aim of identifcation of silica-associated disease at a preclinical stage.
Study design (please select as many as appropriate)
 

  • Prospective cohort

Source population (please select as many as appropriate)
 

  • Industry / occupation-based

Comparators (please select as many as appropriate)
 

  • Internal study population

Inclusion criteria
  All current and former workers from the stone benchtop industry in the State of Victoria.
Enrollment
  Ongoing
Men at enrollment
  86
2. OUTCOME FOLLOW-UP
Type of data for outcome follow-up (please select as many as appropriate)
 

  • Active (contact with participants)
  • Hospital / physician diagnoses

Active (contact with participants) (specify)
 

  • Primary evaluations include a standardised questionnaire, physical examination, spirometry and gas transfer assessment and International Labour Organisation-categorised chest X-ray.

Hospital / Physician diagnoses (specify)
 

  • Physical examination, spirometry and gas transfer assessment and International Labour Organisation-categorised chest X-ray. Secondary evaluations include high-resolution CT chest, blood tests and a respiratory physician evaluation.

First follow-up period (provide year)
  12 months
Last follow-up period (provide year)
  2020
Number of follow-ups after baseline (provide number)
  0
3. OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURES
Source of exposure data collected (please select as many as appropriate)
 

  • Questionnaire, Personal (Self-reporting or interview)
  • Questionnaire, Personal (Occupational/industry modules)
  • Industry-based questionnaire
  • Job-employment records
  • Registry-based

Occupational history/time frame
  Current, at enrollment
Occupational coding performed
  No
Types of exposure measurements
 

  • Workplace sampling

Methods for exposure assessment (please select as many as appropriate)
 

  • Expert assessment

Main categories
 

  • Other (specify)

Main categories | Other | Specify: Other
  Silica dust from artificial stone materials.
Comments
  Summary
Since 2015 there has been an alarming re-emergence of silicosis in Australia, primarily affecting workers who fabricate and install kitchen benchtops from high silica content artificial stone materials. Cutting, grinding and polishing artificial stone can result in generation of high levels of very fine silica dust particles. When inhaled by workers these particles can cause lung scarring (silicosis), which may require lung transplantation or lead to premature death. Silica dust exposure also increases the risk of autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma, as well as lung cancer.

WorkSafe Victoria has commissioned MonCOEH to fill gaps in evidence related to this re-emergence of silicosis around prevalence, burden of illness and risk factors. This evidence will assist WorkSafe Victoria to address the occupational health issues in this industry and to inform the advice provided to employers about their occupational health and safety obligations.

WorkSafe Victoria launched a free health assessment program in 2019, with the aim of screening all Victorian stone benchtop industry workers for silica-related diseases. MonCOEH’s work comprises two project domains, both of which leverage data from this screening program.

1. Screening Registry: records relevant occupational and health information from workers participating in the WorkSafe Victoria free health assessment program.

2. Silica-associated Disease Registry: captures medical information on workers with possible or diagnosed silicosis and other silica-associated conditions from all industries.

4. OUTCOMES EVALUATED
Baseline - type of outcome data collected (select more than one if applicable)
 

  • Clinical/functional evaluation, e.g. spirometry, ECGs (specify)
  • Registry-based

Specify: Clinical/functional evaluation, e.g. spirometry, ECGs
  Spirometry and gas transfer assessment and International Labour Organisation-categorised chest X-ray
Registry-based
 

  • Other

Specify: Other
  Silica disease registry
Follow-up - type of outcome data collected (select more than one if applicable)
 

  • Clinical/functional evaluation, e.g. spirometry, ECGs (specify)

Specify: Clinical/functional evaluation, e.g. spirometry, ECGs
  Secondary evaluations include high-resolution CT chest, blood tests and a respiratory physician evaluation.
Diagnostic groups based on ICD10
 

  • J Respiratory disease

J Respiratory disease
 

  • Other, please state

J Respiratory disease | Other (specify)
  Silicosis
6. Other Information
Please describe plans that are funded or most likely to be funded
  Victoria has an estimated 1,400 workers in the stone benchtop industry who may be exposed to silica dust through work-related activities. These projects will help WorkSafe Victoria deliver evidence-based advice to employers to support their health through better prevention strategies, improved health screening and early diagnosis. The data captured by the registries may also inform further epidemiological studies into the emerging condition.