Ban On Engineered Stone From 1 July

SA Gov

South Australia will implement a ban on engineered stone products from 1 July 2024, joining other states and territories to protect workers from the risk of fatal lung disease.

The ban prohibits the manufacture, supply, processing and installation of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs.

A statewide campaign, led by SafeWork SA, launched today to raise awareness of the ban and what it means to businesses, workers, consumers and the public. The campaign will include press and radio advertising, factsheets, educational webinars and social media.

When engineered stone is processed, such as by cutting or grinding, it releases small particles of respirable crystalline silica dust that, when inhaled into the lungs, can cause silicosis – a disease resulting in permanent disability or death, and with no known cure except lung transplantation.

The ban on engineered stone was a unanimous decision of Commonwealth, State and Territory Work Health and Safety Ministers and was based on a recommendation by Safe Work Australia following expert advice about the rise of silicosis in engineered stone workers.

In addition to banning the use of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs, amendments to work health and safety regulations will:

  • Permit minor modifications, repair and removal of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs installed prior to 1 July 2024.
  • Require South Australian businesses to notify SafeWork SA in advance of any permitted minor works – failure to do so will constitute an offence.
  • Create a process for persons to apply to have a type of engineered stone exempted from the ban where there is compelling evidence it can be worked with safely.

Alternatives to engineered stone benchtops include porcelain, stainless steel, sintered stone, polished concrete, recycled glass and natural stone such as marble and granite.

Further amendments to work health and safety laws will commence on 1 September 2024 to create a stronger regulatory framework for crystalline silica processes in other industries, including additional risk assessments, training and air monitoring.

Engineered stone is safe once installed, as long as it remains undisturbed, and householders are not required to remove engineered stone installed prior to 1 July.

More information is available via the SafeWork SA website:

As put by Kyam Maher

Silicosis is a rapidly growing problem across Australia.

The ban on the use of engineered stone will protect South Australia’s stone workers and tradies from the fatal effects of respirable silica dust.

The ban is a significant step in improving the safety of workers.

We are undertaking an extensive community awareness campaign about the ban so there is no excuse for businesses that don’t comply with the new regulations.

As put by SafeWork SA Executive Director Glenn Farrell

SafeWork SA is providing advice on complying with the ban to support workers, businesses, consumers and the public.

SafeWork SA will actively be monitoring compliance with the new laws through auditing and inspections.

Businesses need to ensure they understand and abide by the new laws to keep their workers safe and are encouraged to seek assistance from SafeWork SA if required.

The SafeWork SA website contains information about the ban on engineered stone and links to other agencies so South Australians can be fully informed.

SafeWork SA will regulate and enforce the new laws about engineered stone.

SafeWork SA will not hesitate to act against any business that breaches the new regulations.

As put by SA Unions Secretary Dale Beasley

This ban is not just a regulatory measure; it is a promise to future generations that their health and safety will always be our top priority.

This victory is also a moment to acknowledge and remember the workers who have suffered from silicosis. The stories of stonemasons who battled this debilitating disease have driven home the urgent need for this ban. Their courage and the tireless advocacy of their workmates have been pivotal in achieving this outcome.

An instagram-worthy kitchen isn’t worth your life. Like asbestos before it, engineered stone has managed to make its way into millions of homes, if handled incorrectly, workers and home renovators could be exposed to this deadly dust.

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