Anthony White is the first worker to succumb to the latest epidemic of silicosis..
Anthony White is the first worker to succumb to the latest epidemic of silicosis..

QLD tradie first known victim of new crisis

A 36-YEAR-old Gold Coast stonemason has become the first known worker to die from the silicosis crisis gripping the industry.

Anthony White, who was diagnosed with the deadly lung disease in 2017, reportedly died early Saturday morning after he was found unconscious in a restroom and was unable to be revived.

Shine Lawyers dust disease expert Roger Singh confirmed the death and said Mr White had shown inspiring courage and resilience after being diagnosed with the disease.

"His death is an absolute tragedy and something which could have, and should have, been avoided," he said.

"What is astounding is that we all know the horrible legacy left by asbestos so it beggars belief that this product - engineered stone - which causes horrific diseases like silicosis has not been regulated in a way to prevent death and destruction of workers.

Anthony White in hospital
Anthony White in hospital


"We have been calling for the vigorous regulation of the handling and cutting of engineered stone for almost nine months and government agencies, manufacturers, suppliers and some employers have been derelict in their duty by not protecting stonemasons from toxic exposure."

Mr White's brother - who tragically was also recently diagnosed with silicosis - told Channel 9 today that the death had come as a shock as doctors had recently judged him well enough to go on a waiting list for a lung transplant.

"He said he was starting to feel better. He was saying I feel like everything is starting to go well," he said.

"Everything was starting to go on the up for him, so it was quite sudden in that way."

 

Anthony White is the first worker to succumb to the latest epidemic of silicosis.
Anthony White is the first worker to succumb to the latest epidemic of silicosis.


Shane White said he was glad his brother had not been in hospital when he died.

"He was enjoying himself. He was down at the pub," he said.

"He wasn't drinking or anything like that. He was just playing the pokies."

Latest government figures revealed 98 workers in Queensland have been diagnosed with the deadly lung disease after being exposed to the dust while cutting through manufactured stone bench tops.

The youngest diagnosed stonemason was 23 years old, and 15 have been listed as terminal.

A recent government audit of workplaces led to 552 breach notices for unsafe workplace practices.

Anthony White in hospital
Anthony White in hospital