Can Cutting Concrete In Sydney Cause Silicosis?

Can Cutting Concrete In Sydney Cause Silicosis?

Do you have a concrete sawing project in your Sydney home? Do you have questions regarding the risk of getting silicosis from concrete cutting? Well, you’ve come to the right place for answers. Silicosis is the long-term and often permanent lung damage caused by breathing a large amount of crystalline silica dust. 

Concrete cutting and concrete removal can cause silicosis. There are plenty of people in the construction industry who’ve suffered this fate. If you’re working around a concrete cutting project, you should note that: 

  • Concrete cutting gives rise to the dangerous fine dust crystalline silica dust
  • Long-term exposure to the dust causes lung damage 
  • The lack of symptoms during the onset stages hides the problem 
  • Luckily, silicosis is preventable 

The Risk Silicosis Caused By Concrete Cutting 

Crystalline silica is a material present in rock, masonry, and concrete. However, the cause of silicosis is crystalline silica dust. For the silica to pose a hazard to your health, you need to transform the material into a fine dust that you can inhale into your lungs. This is where concrete cutting comes in.

Sawing through concrete shreds the crystalline silica into minute dust particles that are not only easy to inhale but are particularly easy to lodge deep into your lungs. Additionally, the fine dust is easily suspended in the air, lurking around for some time after sawing. As such, inhaling fine particle crystalline silica is surprisingly easy which is why it is important to minimise the inhalation of concrete dust.

Long-Term And Repeated Exposure Increases The Risk Of Contracting Silicosis 

Once the crystalline silica dust is lodged in your lungs, it causes inflammation characterised by swelling of the lung tissue. On subsequent exposure and inflammation, the tissue gradually hardens. Additionally, it forms fibrosis, better known as scarred lung tissues.

The scarred tissues become less effective and efficient in absorbing oxygen into your bloodstream and releasing carbon dioxide from your body. In effect, this affects your ability to breathe, and the longer you’re exposed to the silica dust, the worse the condition gets.

Can Cutting Concrete Sydney Cause Silicosis

Silicosis Can Hide Due To Lack Of Symptoms During The Formative Stages 

Typical cases of silicosis take years to develop and for the symptoms to appear. For most workers in the construction industry exposed to crystalline silica, it will take anywhere from 10 to 20 years for silicosis to develop. In some cases, it takes 5 to 10 years of exposure for the lung disease to occur. However, when you endure heavy and repeated exposure to silica dust, the disease may arise in as little as a few months.

Once the symptoms appear, they tend to get worse, even when you cut out exposure completely. Some of the common symptoms of silicosis are:

1. Persistent shortness of breath 

2. Persistent cough 

3. Tiredness and weakness 

4. Night sweats 

5. Weight loss, and much more  

As you can appreciate, the lack of symptoms during the formative stages of disease makes it easy for people to expose themselves even further. 

Preventing Silicosis 

Since crystalline silica dust is the main problem, one of the most effective ways of preventing silicosis is to prevent the formation and dispersion of fine dust. In the case of concrete sawing, wet sawing is far better at eliminating silica dust than dry sawing. 

Wet the work surface to prevent generating fine dust. Moreover, use a concrete saw that supplies water to the workpiece, thereby cutting down the amount of dust you generate.

In cases of high risk, use respirators to protect yourself. While respirators should never be used as the primary prevention method, they are indefensible PPEs when dust emissions control cannot be minimised.


In conclusion, concrete cutting can cause silicosis. While it might take many years of repeated exposure to get this disease, any exposure to crystalline silica dust poses a risk to your lungs. Take adequate preventive measures to safeguard the health of your lungs and your overall health.

If you are looking for a concrete cutting company in Sydney that is trustworthy and reliable, then don’t go past Sydney Sawing & Drilling. Please call us today on (02) 9158 6101 or leave an enquiry.