Australia Enacts Unprecedented Ban on Engineered Stone in Response to Escalating Silicosis Incidents
In a groundbreaking move, Australia has taken the lead in becoming the first country to prohibit the utilization, distribution, and production of engineered stone benchtops.
On December 13, 2023, leaders at the Commonwealth, State, and Territory levels reached a consensus to implement a nationwide ban on engineered stone. The ban is slated to be effective from July 1, 2024, in the majority of states and territories within Australia, including New South Wales.
Engineered stone, a man-made product formed by blending natural stone materials with water, resins, and pigments, serves as a cost-effective substitute for authentic stone in residential and commercial constructions globally, particularly in kitchen benchtops and vanities. Unlike natural stone, engineered stone poses a significant health risk due to its high content of respirable crystalline silica (RCS). Activities such as cutting, drilling, crushing, or polishing the stone generate crystalline silica dust, which, when inhaled, can be hazardous and lead to silicosis—a life-threatening lung condition. Notably, there is no established "safe level" of crystalline silica exposure.
Silicosis cases have surged, with stone masons and workers involved in fabricating engineered stone being the most affected group. The decision to prohibit this perilous product stems from the escalating instances of silicosis and the courage of employees who have come forward to shed light on their workplace experiences with engineered stone and silica dust exposure.
Worx Safety firmly supports the move to ban the product in New South Wales, recognizing the devastating and lethal consequences of exposure to engineered stone. Throughout the years, our software has equipped users with essential digital tools to mitigate the risks associated with such products, and we remain committed to ensuring the safety of every worker.