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Safe Work Australia recommends prohibiting the use of all engineered stone

Safe Work Australia has published the Decision Regulation Impact Statement: Prohibition on the use of engineered stone (Decision), which recommends a prohibition on the use of all engineered stone to protect the health and safety of workers.

The Decision, which builds on the Decision Regulation Impact Statement: Managing the risks of respirable crystalline silica at work, was developed at the request of work health and safety ministers, and was informed by stakeholder consultation, independent economic analysis and an expert review of evidence.

Safe Work Australia has provided the following as informing the recommendation for a prohibition:

  • engineered stone workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) are significantly over-represented in silicosis cases and they are being diagnosed with silicosis at a much younger age than workers from other industries;
  • engineered stone is physically and chemically different to natural stone – the high levels of RCS generated by working with engineered stone, as well as the differing properties of this RCS, are likely to contribute to more rapid and severe disease;
  • there is no toxicological evidence of a safe threshold of crystalline silica content in engineered stone, or that other chemicals found in engineered stone do not pose a health risk to workers; and
  • silicosis and silica-related diseases are preventable. However, a persistent lack of compliance with, and enforcement of, the obligations imposed under work health and safety laws across the engineered stone industry at all levels have not protected workers from the health risks associated with RCS.

Safe Work Australia provided the Decision to Commonwealth, state and territory work health and safety ministers on 16 August 2023 for their consideration.

Click here to view the Decision.

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