Tradie Health Institute

An initiative of THE COMMON GOOD

Introducing the Tradie Health Institute


The Tradie Health Institute, powered by The Common Good is a world first research initiative established to tackle occupational lung disease, including the deadly disease silicosis leading people to fight for every breath.  

Occupational lung disease treatment has always focused on prevention, rehabilitation and managing the conditions. With your help, we can do more. The Tradie Health Institute is dedicated to detecting the disease earlier, performing ground-breaking research and undertaking pioneering medical treatments to make lives better.  

Established in collaboration with public health, our largest lung centre, universities, scientists and industry, we are committed to driving real, tangible impacts for the health of our nation’s tradies and their families.  


What is silicosis?

Silicosis is a severe, progressive dust-related lung disease caused by inhaling toxic silica dust such as that from sand, glass, concrete, engineered stone, tiles and other silica-based materials. Silicosis can impact workers across many industries including construction, mining, manufacturing and agriculture.  

When inhaled, the silica dust settles in the lungs, and the immune system goes into overdrive, causing inflammation and scarring (fibrosis). This means the lungs can’t function properly and the person cannot breathe. Over time, the lungs are simply destroyed by tiny, toxic dust particles.  

The level of exposure and length of time a person is exposed will impact the severity of their silicosis diagnosis. Sadly, symptoms of silicosis may not be noticeable until the disease has progressed.  

There is currently no cure for silicosis.    

Who is at risk of silicosis?

Anyone who works in an environment where they breathe in dust containing silica is at risk. Dust exposure may come as a result of drilling, grinding, sanding, crushing, sawing or polishing natural stone or man-made products that contain silica.  

The group most associated with the risk of silicosis are stonemasons however this risk also extends to many other industries people may not think of, including agriculture.  

Those affected by silicosis are often relatively young with much of their lives still ahead of them. In addition to the impact on individuals, a diagnosis of silicosis has enormous economic and societal impacts.  

How do workers get it?

Silicosis develops through inhaling silica dust particles which settle in the lungs.  Silica crystals can be so small that they sadly are the perfect size to lodge in the lungs very quickly. 

It is important that silica crystals are removed from the lungs early as the longer they are present, the more scarring occurs which reduces the function of the lungs, making it hard for the person to breathe.  


Around 10,390 Australians are predicted to develop lung cancer in their lifetime as a direct result of being exposed to respiranle crystalline silica.


Approximately 600,000 Australian workers are breathing in dust everyday.


Silicosis can develop after short term exposure to very high levels of silica dust.



What is The Tradie Health Institute?

The Tradie Health Institute is the first of its kind. From humble labs inside Australia's leading cardiothoracic hospital, The Prince Charles Hospital, our internationally renowned scientists are performing groundbreaking work to tackle the silicosis epidemic. The prevention of occupational lung disease is critically important, but what about those who are already impacted and are suffering? The Tradie Health Institute aims to provide hope to those currently impacted by occupational lung disease, but also opportunities to take more preventative action against occupational lung disease through blood detection tests and DNA markers. There are hundreds of thousands of tradies at risk of occupational lung disease and the Tradie Health Institute is uniting the best in research, health, government and industry to create better health outcomes for tradies and their families. 

DNA markers

We will develop genetic tests to see why some people are more at risk than others. This will be critical in pre-employment or re-deployment.  

Blood test detection

The development of new techniques and non-invasive tests to detect occupational lung disease earlier.  

Whole lung lavage

Increased clinical trials of the whole lung lavage to treat early stage silicosis and flush silica from the lungs.   

Tradie Health Institute Launch Event

Join us for the official industry launch of the Tradie Health Institute on 30 June. By joining us at this event, you are playing a vital role in establishing the Tradie Health Institute - an initiative dedicated to improving the lives of tradies across the country through groundbreaking research into occupational lung disease. 


See the story in Master Builder Magazine

In the feature, we covered the impacts of silicosis and our research into occupational lung diease, as well as the upcoming launch of the Tradie Health Institute.


Meet the members of the Tradie Health Institute

“Sadly, there are many out there who have not taken the right precautions or simply weren’t aware of the risks. I now call on other CEOs to stand with BESIX Watpac and support The Tradie Health Institute in this battle against silicosis and other occupational lung conditions.”

BESIX Watpac CEO, Mark Baker 

“The ground breaking research being conducted by the Common Good is improving the lives of tradies suffering with occupational lung disease. neXtrack is proud to partner with the Tradie Health Institute and support the journey of medical discovery. We share a common goal of engineering change in our workplaces and look forward to a long successful partnership together.”

NeXtrack CEO, Ryan Alexiou

“This research will potentially provide treatment without these workers having to face something as drastic as a lung transplant.”

Queensland Lung Transplant Service, Chief Scientist, Dr Simon Apte

Get Involved

Find out how you can get involved in the Tradie Health Institute and make a difference in the lives of our nation’s tradies.

Contact Us

Wayne Thomson, Tradie Health Institute - Executive 

P: 0427 857 749 | 1800 501 269