Australia will be the first country to ban the use, manufacture and supply of engineered stone, from July 1 next year.
Safe Work Australia (SWA) says a national framework will be developed to ensure anyone working with engineered stone products installed prior to today is doing so safely. It will draft amendments to the model WHS Regulations. The amendments will then be implemented in each jurisdiction’s WHS laws.
In August, a Safe Work Australia report recommended prohibiting the use of engineered stone.
SWA says workers and businesses who have existing contracts for engineered stone can continue to work with it “in a controlled way” up until July 1.
SWA CEO Marie Boland says the ban will make Australian workplaces “safer and healthier”.
“The vast majority of silicosis cases identified in recent years are in engineered stone workers. Many of these cases are in younger workers who are experiencing faster disease progression and higher mortality,” she says.
“The cost to industry, while real and relevant, cannot outweigh the significant costs to workers, their families and the broader Australian community that result from exposure to respirable crystalline silica from engineered stone.
“Continued work with engineered stone poses an unacceptable risk to workers, which is why we recommended a prohibition on the use of all engineered stone.”
CCIWA can support PCBUs to understand and prepare for the change. Email [email protected] or call (08) 9365 7746.