Engineered Stone Ban

Engineered Stone Ban

Effective July 1, 2024, all Commonwealth, state, and territory governments have unanimously agreed to enforce a prohibition on the use, supply, and manufacture of engineered stone. This move aims to combat the devastating lung disease, silicosis.

Minister for WorkSafe and the TAC, Danny Pearson, alongside his Commonwealth, state, and territory counterparts, has committed to implementing a national ban on this hazardous product.

Victoria has been at the forefront of introducing stringent regulations, including the country's first licensing scheme for businesses working with crystalline silica. Now, efforts are underway to enforce the ban on engineered stone through amendments to occupational health and safety laws.

Businesses and consumers are urged not to enter into contracts involving engineered stone products, as legal fulfillment may be compromised. 

As of July 1, 2024, Victorian employers will be prohibited from engaging in any work related to the manufacturing, supply, processing, or installation of engineered stone. Additionally, the Commonwealth Government has expressed intentions to ban the importation of the product, further enhancing protections.

However, certain exceptions to Victoria's prohibition will apply, such as the removal, repair, or minor modification of products installed before July 1, 2024. These activities will be subject to existing control requirements for engineered stone and additional regulations for high-risk crystalline silica work.

Until the ban is enforced, existing laws pertaining to exposure to crystalline silica dust and working with engineered stone will remain in place to safeguard workers.

In 2019, Victoria established its Silica Action Plan, implementing various measures to prevent exposure to crystalline silica dust and provide support for affected workers. Notably, Australia's only dedicated public hospital occupational respiratory clinic was established through a partnership between WorkSafe and The Alfred as part of this initiative.

The national ban follows a report by Safe Work Australia, which recommended prohibiting the use of all engineered stone, irrespective of crystalline silica content. The report highlighted the significant health risks posed by high levels of respirable crystalline silica generated during work with engineered stone, emphasising the absence of a safe threshold of silica content.

Engineered stone is defined in the report as an artificial product containing crystalline silica, created by combining natural stone materials with other chemical constituents and undergoing a hardening process.

Certain products will be explicitly excluded from the definition of engineered stone, including concrete and cement products, bricks, pavers, ceramic and porcelain tiles, roof tiles, grout, mortar, render, and plasterboard.

For more info visit Safework Australia or speak to Paul Holland about PPE and Respirator Equipment for preventive gear.