Which Mask Will You Wear? (Silica awareness campaign)

Title translated into English

Which Mask Will You Wear? (Silica awareness campaign)

Film: Duration in minutes

1 minutes


Silicosis is an irreversible lung disease which can go undetected for many years and can be fatal. It can be fatal within five to 10 years if working without protection – sometimes for people as young as 20 or 30.

When products or materials containing crystalline silica are cut, sanded, drilled or ground, a very fine dust is created. Evidence has shown that a high exposure to silica dust through inhalation can lead to this disease. The Cancer Council predicts 1-in-100 workers with past exposure to silica without correct safety measures will develop the disease.

In recent years in Australia, there has been a re-emergence of this relatively forgotten lung disease which has prompted government and health professionals to act.

SafeWork NSW has implemented a strategy to reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals to address the issue. One of the key priorities in the strategy is a focus on reducing exposure levels to silica dust among people who work with materials containing crystalline silica.

SafeWork NSW ran two campaigns (2018 and 2019) aimed at increasing awareness of the dangers of working with materials that contain crystalline silica, and to educate workers on how to protect themselves.

At the heart of the campaign is a display advertisement and a video featuring Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, a well-regarded Australian scientist, author, broadcaster and media personality.


The SafeWork NSW silica campaign uses the tagline ‘Work with stone? Which mask will you wear?’.

The tagline refers to two very different face masks that are familiar to stone manufacturers – the main group of people affected by silica dust.

The first mask is an appropriate dust mask which is just one of the measures people can take to protect themselves from silica dust.

The second mask is an oxygen mask – a stark reminder of the kind of mask a worker could be forced into wearing if they don’t adequately protect themselves from silica dust and develop a related illness.

In the video, Dr Karl delivers a series of simple and effective measures that people can take to protect themselves from harmful silica dust:

The call to action then prompts people to visit the SafeWork NSW website for further information.

The campaign ran from 23 July to 30 August 2019. It ran across online video, digital display, social and radio.

Online video achieved 256,468 impressions, with a 70% completion rate and 1,953 clicks.

Digital display achieved Digital display advertising achieved 2,278,564 impressions, with 2,259 clicks.

Social media (a video ad and a link ad) achieved 781,301 impressions, with 1,954 link clicks and 11,648 through-plays for the video.

The digital display ads also ran on the Service NSW website. This advertising achieved 416,705 impressions and 356 clicks for both desktop and mobile.

During the course of the campaign, there were 14,137 page views of the SafeWork NSW silica web page – around of 7,068 for the approximate two months of the campaign.

This compares to an average of 1,213 page views per month for that web page.

Research conducted following the campaign showed that advertising improved the perception of the risk of silica dust in the workplace for 2 in 3 people.


SafeWork NSW developed a comprehensive five-year strategy to address silicosis after identifying it as a major concern more than two years ago. The strategy includes awareness and education, business rebates, conducting research and reviewing regulations.

SafeWork NSW has visited every manufactured stone site in NSW to help educate workers and employers. Site visits and education initiatives will increase every year until 30 June 2022 to reach the target of 9000 interactions with NSW businesses working with silica by the end of the five-year strategy in 2022.

Target Group

The target group for this campaign is all people in NSW who work with manufactured stone, concrete, bricks or rock – all products which can contain crystalline silica – and includes all stonemasonry, tunnelling, foundry and construction work.



Contact details Editor / Production company

SafeWork NSW
92-100 Donnison Street, au-2250 Gosford
+61408361849 https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/hazards-a-z/hazardous-chemical/priority-chemicals/crystalline-silica