CFMEU NSW calls for ban on manufactured stone products

Friday, 18 February, 2022

CFMEU NSW calls for ban on manufactured stone products

The CFMEU has renewed calls for the ban on manufactured stone products that expose workers to the risk of the deadly lung disease, silicosis. Darren Greenfield, CFMEU NSW Secretary, said silicosis is a killer and manufactured stone products pose an unacceptable risk to workers and must be banned. “Nearly one in four engineered stone workers who have been in the industry since 2018 are suffering from silicosis or some other dust-related disease. When you consider the high mortality rate of silicosis, this shocking fact must prompt immediate action,” Greenfield said.

Greenfield noted that if one in four workers in any other industry were being poisoned by their work environment, there would be widespread outrage, before adding that it should be no different for stone and construction workers.

“In evidence presented to the NSW Parliament, CaesarStone, a major importer and fabricator of manufactured stone products, admitted that since 2019 they have not managed to hold an insurance policy for common law damages claims. Insurers will not touch this deadly product for good reason, and it is time for NSW to read the tea leaves and implement a ban on its production and sale. This product is killing workers and placing strain on the finances of the New South Wales Dust Diseases Scheme,” Greenfield said.

Data from SafeWork NSW tabled in parliament in 2021 revealed a high rate of industry non-compliance with workplace exposure standards. “The reality is these high-silica products are so inherently dangerous that workplace controls aren’t the answer and the products containing them must be banned. Manufactured stone is not essential to our economy, it’s an architectural fashion which has only existed since the 1990s. This unnecessary and deadly product should have no place in Australian homes and workplaces. The writing is on the wall for this killer product and now is the time to implement a ban,” Greenfield said.

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