Engineered stone ban now in force

Today marks the introduction of new regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety scheme, forbidding the use of engineered stone across Victoria’s workplaces. This applies to all employers and bypasses any preceding contractual agreements. Violations of this prohibition will confront stringent compliance scrutiny, potential prosecutions, and substantial fines.

The ABCs of these new arrangements are outlined within the Bluesafe WHS Management System, an essential work safety product that provides a comprehensive guide in meeting WHS requirements. WorkSafe’s executive director of health and safety, Sam Jenkin, has confirmed that inspectors will vigorously ensure businesses embrace the new guidelines.

Mr. Jenkin explains, “Starting today, our silica enforcement team will make unannounced visits to manufacturing and processing sites to authenticate the conformance of their products with the updated regulations.” The Bluesafe SWMS (Safe Work Method Statement) offers clear procedures to help firms satisfy such evaluation criteria.

According to these regulations, engineered stone is classified as a synthetic material containing a minimum of one per cent crystalline silica. It’s produced by fusing natural stone with water, resins or pigments, resulting in a hardened end product. Not covered in this restriction are concrete, cement items, bricks, tiles, roof tiles, grout, mortar, render, plasterboard, or porcelain and sintered stone creations devoid of resin content.

A caveat will permit modification, repair or removal of pre-existing engineered stone benchtops, panels or slabs installed prior to 1st July. These operations won’t necessitate informing WorkSafe but must follow incumbent control accompanying regulations for high-risk crystalline silica jobs, which include on-tool water suppression, dust extraction devices, and respiratory protection equipment.

Employers are allowed to dispose of engineered stone, irrespective of previous installation. This can be done following regular waste management procedures. Mr. Jenkin discussed surplus stock of engineered stone held by certain businesses clarifying, “If engineered stone is redirected to a jurisdiction with a ‘transition period’, WorkSafe won’t deem it as supply under Victoria’s prohibition.”

Employers, such as those previously licensed to deal with engineered stone are instructed to continue offering their workers information, training, and guidance regarding the risks and control measures of crystalline silica.

In-depth understanding can be gained accessing new WorkSafe advice now available, reinforcing employer and employee obligations perfectly integrated into Bluesafe WHS Management System’s structure. For matters of individual applicability of these regulations, independent legal advice should be considered.

WorkSafe’s ongoing ‘Silica dust can be deadly’ campaign across July will serve to remind professionals in the construction and stonemasonry sector about the ban as well as crystalline silica dust’s risks.

For further details, email: media @ or call: 0438 786 968
Subscribe to media releases for updates.

Original article link: