Australian Government launches first national registry to combat silicosis

Australia’s first National Occupational Respiratory Disease Registry launched on 22 May 2024. It collects data to support the prevention of dangerous occupational respiratory diseases like silicosis.

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The new national registry collects data on occupational respiratory diseases to help reduce, eliminate and improve our understanding of preventable workplace illnesses like silicosis.

In 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated 1.45 million Australians worked in industries where they might be exposed to construction dusts in the workplace. For example, respirable crystalline silica is common.

In 2022, the National Dust Disease Taskforce carried out an independent review into the state of occupational respiratory disease in Australia. In response to the final outcomes of the review, all Australian state and territory governments committed to:

  • reducing silicosis and other dust diseases among workers
  • improving the quality of life for affected people and their families.

The national registry is a product of these commitments. It also shows the combined efforts of all Australian governments to improve the health and wellbeing of all workers.

To support its mission, the national registry relies heavily on occupational and respiratory health specialists to report any diagnosis of occupational respiratory disease. It is mandatory to notify the national registry of silicosis cases diagnosed on or after 22 May 2024.

Researchers may be able to use data in the registry to generate new understandings and support the prevention of occupational respiratory diseases. If you are a researcher in this field, you can apply for access to the registry’s data. This is available on the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website

Any information patients provide for the National Occupational Respiratory Disease Registry will be protected under the Privacy Act 1988. Health professionals and researchers with access to the National Occupational Respiratory Disease Registry must handle patient information with care and according to strict privacy and ethics requirements. 

Read more about the national registry.