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Ban on engineered stone in effect from July

South Australia will implement a ban on engineered stone products from 1 July 2024, joining other states and territories in protecting workers from the fatal lung disease.

The ban prohibits the manufacture, supply, processing and installation of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs.

A statewide campaign, led by SafeWork SA aims to raise awareness of the ban and what it means to businesses, workers, consumers and the public.

SafeWork SA executive director, Glenn Farrell said advice is available to ensure workers, businesses and consumers comply with the ban.

“SafeWork SA will actively be monitoring compliance with the new laws through auditing and inspections,” said Farrell.

“Businesses need to ensure they understand and abide by the new laws to keep their workers safe and are encouraged to seek assistance from SafeWork SA if required.”

The campaign will include press and radio advertising, factsheets, educational webinars and social media.

When engineered stone is cut or grinded, it releases small particles of respirable crystalline silica dust that can cause silicosis which results in permanent disability or death.

The ban on engineered stone was a unanimous decision of Commonwealth, State and Territory Work Health and Safety Ministers.

The decision was based on a recommendation by Safe Work Australia following expert advice about the rise of silicosis in engineered stone workers.

In addition to banning the use of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs, amendments to work health and safety regulations will:

  • Permit minor modifications, repair and removal of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs installed prior to 1 July 2024.
  • Require South Australian businesses to notify SafeWork SA in advance of any permitted minor works.
  • Create a process for persons to apply to have a type of engineered stone exempted from the ban where there is compelling evidence it can be worked with safely.

Alternatives to engineered stone benchtops include porcelain, stainless steel, sintered stone, polished concrete, recycled glass and natural stone such as marble and granite.

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