New Compliance Code For Working With Engineered Stone

A new code of conduct will make sure that employers are guided by best practice and expert advice to reduce the risks to their workers contracting deadly silicosis, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Developed in consultation with medical experts, employees and employers the code provides critical guidance to employers working with engineered stone, including how to comply with the prohibition on uncontrolled dry cutting of engineered stone and health monitoring requirements.

It sets out employers’ obligations and duties to provide a working environment that is safe and without risks to health.

The code applies to all workplaces where engineered stone is handled, including manufacturers, suppliers, persons who have management or control of a workplace, employers, self-employed persons, and employees, including independent contractors.

Those working with engineered stone, which is commonly used for kitchen and bathroom bench tops, are at risk due to the high the concentration of silica in the products they work with.

The code was developed as part of the Labor Government’s action plan and follows a ban on the dry cutting of engineered stone and a health screening program for Victoria’s 1,400 stonemasons.

In December the workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica was halved to a time weighted average of 0.05mg/m3 over an eight-hour day but the Labor Government urges them to adopt an even lower 0.02mg/m3 limit to protect their workers from this silent killer.

WorkSafe has made 1240 visits to workplaces and issued 436 compliance notices ordering employers to improve their safe guards against exposure to silica dust.