A Gold Coast stonemason who developed an irreversible lung disease after breathing in tiny particles of silica dust has died.
The disease is contracted by breathing in silica dust from cheap manufactured stone used in household kitchens and bathrooms.
Mr White’s death comes as hundreds of stone workers across Australia undergo testing.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said Mr White was the first Queensland worker from the engineered stone industry with this illness to have died.
“Even in the face of immense personal tragedy, Mr White showed incredible bravery in highlighting the deadly consequences of prolonged and unsafe exposure to silica dust,” she said in a statement.Queensland stonemason dies from silicosis
Mr White had an accepted WorkCover claim and WorkCover has offered his family condolences and support, the minister said.
Last month, she said the government had done what it could to prevent the crisis, and that it was up to employers to look after their workers.
On Tuesday, the minister said engineered stone industry workers and their families could be assured that the government was doing all it could to support workers diagnosed with this disease.
They have audited all 138 known engineered stone benchtop fabricators in Queensland and arranged free screening for 810 workers.
An expert medical working group held its first meeting last week.
Workers are also being screened in South Australia, and there have been calls for more government support as well as a national approach.
Doctors have warned of the scale of the unfolding crisis, and the federal government is considering its response.