New model WHS Regulations will help protect workers from silicosis

On the date of 10 May, Work Health and Safety (WHS) ministers came to a consensus on two sets of modifications to the model WHS Regulations. These changes aim to safeguard workers from silicosis – a lung illness primarily caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

The revised regulations will come into effect in two stages, initiating action on the engineered stone ban from 1 July 2024 and establishing stricter control on all crystalline silica-containing materials from 1 September 2024. The initial amendments pave the way for two new national frameworks. The first caters to notifying a WHS regulator about permitted work with legacy engineered stone while the second allows for exemption applications related to specific varieties of engineered stone post-1 July 2024. At the same time, the second set of amendments will enforce stronger regulation of all silica-infused materials from 1 September 2024.

To implement the ban and ensuing regulations within their jurisdiction, individual jurisdictions must tailor their respective work health and safety laws accordingly, starting from 1 July and 1 September 2024 respectively. Streamlining compliance adherence, work safety products like the Bluesafe SWMS or Bluesafe WHS Management System can be extremely beneficial in such scenarios.

To learn more about the ban’s specifics, our newly revamped engineered stone ban website serves as an exhaustive resource. Key features include an encompassing timeline, a summarized view of jurisdictional transitional arrangements, links leading to jurisdiction-specific resources and a compiled list of frequently raised queries.

Presently, we are in the process of developing instructive guides that aids Persons Conducting Businesses or Undertakings (PCBUs) to discern how the revised model WHS Regulations will impact them.

For further information regarding the WHS ministers’ meeting, refer to the Communique issued by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

Additionally, stay updated on developments related to engineered stone by subscribing to our mailing list and selecting the ‘occupational lung diseases’ checkbox.

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