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Upcoming product ban to be set in stone


A new WorkSafe campaign is gearing up to raise awareness about the upcoming ban on engineered stone, effective July 1, 2024, while reinforcing employers’ responsibilities to protect workers before it takes effect.

In December 2023, WHS ministers representing the Commonwealth, states and territories agreed to Safe Work Australia’s recommendation to prohibit the use of engineered stone to protect thousands of workers from respirable crystalline silica (silica dust).

The initiative specifically targets individuals working with the product, including those in regional communities, and will be translated for culturally and linguistically diverse communities heavily involved in the industry.

Scheduled to run throughout February this year, the campaign precedes a meeting of national workplace safety ministers that will finalise details of the ban on work involving the manufacturing, supply, processing and installation of engineered stone.

Since January 1, 2024, businesses and consumers have been strongly advised against entering into contracts for engineered stone products due to potential legal impediments in fulfilling these agreements.

Victoria has implemented some of the strictest regulations pertaining to engineered stone, introducing Australia’s first licensing scheme for businesses working with crystalline silica. These protective measures, including the ban of uncontrolled dry-cutting of engineered stone, remain in force.

Following national agreement, the Victorian Government will enforce the prohibition on the use of all engineered stone through amendments to occupational health and safety laws.

Workers in the industry can undergo comprehensive health assessments at the Alfred Occupational Respiratory Clinic, offered in partnership between WorkSafe and the Alfred. As Australia’s sole dedicated public hospital occupational respiratory clinic, it offers a range of diagnostic tools and specialist services not readily available to GPs. This increases the likelihood of early identification while saving time and reducing stress for workers and their families.

Until the prohibition of engineered stone comes into effect, workers and businesses can continue to work with engineered stone in a controlled way.

Under the model WHS Regulations, if cutting, grinding, trimming, sanding, abrasive polishing or drilling engineered stone using power tools or other mechanical plant is required, then one of the following must be adhered to:

  • a water suppression (wet cutting) system
  • an on-tool dust extraction system
  • local exhaust ventilation system

All workers who process engineered stone must also be provided with and wear respiratory protective equipment.


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