Australia makes world-first decision to ban engineered stone following surge in silicosis cases
18th December 2023
by The Landscape Association
NSW Government Media Release
New South Wales will prohibit the use, supply and manufacture of engineered stone from the 1st of July 2024.
NSW joined most other states and territories in agreeing to ban the dangerous product by the middle of next year.
The decision was made after careful consideration of the Safe Work Australia Decision Regulatory Impact Statement which found there was no safe level of silica in engineered stone.
Rates of silicosis and silica related diseases in Australian workers have risen substantially in recent years, with a disproportionate number of diagnoses among engineered stone workers.
SafeWork NSW will continue its work ensuring compliance with work health and safety requirements including site visits and issuing penalties to any operator who is non-compliant.
Early this year, NSW passed tough new laws to double penalties on any employer illegally exposing their workers to silica dust.
The WHS Ministers also agreed today to task Safe Work Australia with further work to strengthen regulations.
Ministers will meet again in March 2024 to finalise the details of the implementation of the ban on the use of engineered stone, including the regulation of legacy products and transitional arrangements for contracts entered into before today.
The WHS Ministers will continue nationally consistent and coordinated consultation and messaging for workers, unions, business and consumers.
The NSW Government also welcomes the Commonwealth’s commitment to implement an eventual import ban on engineered stone.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Work Health and Safety, Sophie Cotsis:
“I congratulate all workers, unions, medical experts and businesses that I stood side by side as we campaigned for this day.
“This is about saving lives, the evidence is in, and the Minns Government has been a strong advocate for this.
“My message to business and consumers is this: it’s time for you to stop buying this stuff. Don’t enter into any further contracts.”