Brought to you by:

National ban on deadly stone kicks in 

Australia’s world-first ban on engineered stone begins today, marking a significant move against dust-related diseases such as silicosis.

The ban follows an agreement between work health and safety ministers last December, with some states, including NSW, committed to action even if a national deal could not be made.

The new rules allow work on legacy products such as kitchen benchtops, with businesses required to inform and plan with workplace regulators.

The NSW government says it will enforce the ban by appointing more SafeWork inspectors and penalising companies that fail to comply. It says the regulator made 176 visits to businesses and issued 142 notices during a six-month blitz of the construction industry before the ban’s enforcement.

NSW recently committed $2.5 million in its budget to support and ensure compliance with the prohibition, including education for businesses and establishment of a registry to track at-risk workers.

The state’s acting Work Health and Safety Minister Tara Moriarty said: “Silicosis is preventable, and this ban will save lives.

“Tradespeople who work with these products should not be risking their lives to earn a living.”

Victorian WorkSafe Minister Danny Pearson said: “The evidence is clear that working with engineered stone is deadly – I don’t want to see any more Victorian workers die because of a kitchen benchtop.”