SA introduces tougher rules for working with engineered stone

Wednesday, 02 August, 2023

SA introduces tougher rules for working with engineered stone

The uncontrolled processing of engineered stone products is reportedly due to be banned in South Australia, to help prevent the spread of dust diseases. SafeWork SA will enforce the new regulations, which will bring the state in line with recent changes by SafeWork Australia to model work health and safety laws.

Under the regulations it will be an offence for a person conducting a business or undertaking to direct or allow a worker to process engineered stone without specific control measures in place to reduce the risk of silica dust inhalation. All workers involved in cutting, grinding, trimming, sanding or drilling engineered stone products must be provided with respiratory protective equipment, and use a dust control system such as a water suppressant or exhaust ventilation.

The regulations carry penalties of up to $6000 for an individual or $30,000 for a body corporate, in addition to existing criminal offences under the WHS Act, which provide for up to five years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $3 million for reckless conduct which exposes a person to the risk of death or serious injury or illness. The new regulations will come into effect from 1 September 2023.

Commonwealth, state and territory WHS ministers will meet later this year to consider further national action on engineered stone, including a potential import ban and new regulations to manage high-risk crystalline silica processes. Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector Kyam Maher said silicosis is known to be a rapidly growing problem across Australia. “These new regulations are an immediate step to protect the health and safety of workers, ahead of the national meeting of WHS ministers later this year which will consider further regulatory action on engineered stone,” Maher said.

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