Engineered Stone Work To Cease From 1 July

Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing The Honourable Grace Grace
  • On 1 July 2024, work with engineered stone in Queensland must cease
  • Queensland has led the way forging a national consensus to address the issue
  • This ban is to protect workers and save lives: working with engineered stone can cause serious health conditions, including silicosis
  • Like asbestos, work with legacy engineered stone will be permitted, subject to stringent safety measures

Following the agreement of a national ban of engineered stone in December 2023, the Miles Government has today confirmed the ban will come into effect in full in Queensland from July 1, 2024.

The ban means that from 1 July, work with engineered stone in the manufacturing, supply, processing, and installation of benchtops, panels and slabs must cease even if contracts were entered into prior to the ban date.

The Government considers the ongoing risks of engineered stone to workers as unacceptable and will therefore not adopt a transition period for the ban.

Work with legacy engineered stone – products installed in a premise before 1 July 2024 – will be permitted and will be subject to a national framework under model work health and safety laws.

Businesses that plan to undertake permitted work with legacy engineered stone will be required to notify WHS regulators and failure to provide the required information will constitute an offence.

Queensland first put a proposed ban on the national agenda in 2018 in response to escalating health impacts on workers, including silicosis, caused by the use of engineered stone.

However the Federal LNP government refused to take action.

Since then, the Queensland Labor Government has been instrumental in creating national firsts to protect the Queensland workforce from exposure to respirable crystalline silica (or RCS), introduced Australia’s first code of practice for the engineered stone industry in 2019, and the first code of practice for silica in the construction industry in May 2023.

The first week of May will mark the state’s day of celebration of working people, Labour Day, and will also signal one year since the silica in construction code’s publication.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations, Grace Grace:

“On Labour Day this year our Government has much to look back on and be proud of – especially in leading the nation to get this dangerous product of our workplaces.

“Unlike the LNP, we back our workers and invest in the health and safety infrastructure in this state – this means we were ready to act and provide immediate support when this issue first came up in 2018.

“After years of inaction at a federal level from the LNP, the Albanese Government agreed to a national ban last year – showing that Queensland workers will always be better off under Labor Governments.

“Here in Queensland we have demonstrated we will never be silent when it comes to the safety of Queensland workers – we’ve been bold and outspoken, and we’ll continue that legacy in conquering the insidious dangers posed by RCS.

“This dangerous product is known to cause the potentially fatal disease silicosis: workers sell their labour, not their lives, so we want people out of harm’s way as soon as possible.”

Queensland’s action on engineered stone:

  • Audited all known engineered stone benchtop fabricators
  • Screened over 1,000 workers under Queensland’s WorkCover scheme
  • Implemented Australia’s first code of practice for the engineered stone industry in 2019
  • Implemented Australia’s first code of practice for silica in the construction industry in 2023
  • Established Australia’s first Dust Lung Disease register in July 2019
  • Allocated $5 million for dust lung research

/Public Release. View in full here.