How we help people living with a work-related dust disease

We support and compensate injured workers who have developed a dust disease as a result of harmful dust exposure in a NSW workplace.

icare dust diseases care provides treatment and financial support to injured workers who have a disability as a result of a compensable dust disease contracted in a NSW workplace.

We also provide lung screening services to employers for workers at risk of being exposed to harmful dust.

Eligible workers living with a dust disease can receive financial compensation as well as payment for medical treatment and services such as walking aids, home modifications and at-home nursing care.

We also support medical research by providing research grants and funding.

What is a dust disease?

Dust diseases are a group of lung illnesses caused by inhaling certain products when they are in powder or dust form. Most of the dust diseases that we see are caused by asbestos dust.

Dust diseases are most often contracted in work environments where workers are exposed to or handled products and materials containing harmful dusts such as asbestos.

Developing a dust disease

Dust exposed workplaces commonly include:

  • Home building sites
  • Commercial construction sites
  • Import and waterside precincts
  • Logistics and trucking industries
  • Excavations and tunnel works
  • Workshops where Caesar stone is cut

Dusts that can cause diseases when inhaled:

  • Silica
  • Hard metals, for example tungsten, cobalt
  • Aluminium, beryllium
  • Bagasse, cotton and mouldy hay
  • Straw or grain

Workplace dust can be inhaled when:

  • Dust is created - usually by cutting, sanding, drilling or grinding
  • When it's disturbed, for example during building renovations or during earth works

The risk of developing a dust disease is low. The risk of disease may increase with increased exposure to dust.

Dust disease symptoms

The symptoms of dust diseases are similar to many other respiratory illnesses. Dust diseases can be diagnosed through medical tests.

Common disease symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath or abnormal breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Mucus in the airways (sputum production)

Dust diseases do not generally appear until many years after exposure. They can cause benign thickening or scarring of lung tissue. Asbestos dust can also cause lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma.

Getting a health check

If you think you may have been exposed to harmful dust while employed in a NSW workplace, we can arrange a free medical assessment.

This can include:

  • X-rays of your lungs
  • CT Scans
  • A lung function testing
  • A medical consultation

This may be done via our mobile lung screening service, at our offices in Sydney's CBD, or possibly in your hometown if you live far from us. For more information download our medical examinations fact sheet below, or contact us.

Applying for care

If you have a disability related to a dust disease contracted in a NSW workplace, we encourage you and your family to contact us so we can understand your situation and assess your eligibility for care.