The ban was agreed at a gathering of Australian federal and state office ministers on Wednesday, and can come into place throughout the nation from 1 July 2024.
The ban targets engineered stone, often known as agglomerated stone – a sort of fabric made by mixing crushed stone with a resin binder.
“This can be a harmful product”
Whereas it’s valued as a sturdy and reasonably priced different to pure stone for kitchen benchtops, the fabric could be harmful whereas being reduce as a result of it releases a high quality silica mud into the air.
Australia has recorded rising circumstances of the lung illness silicosis in stonemasons who’ve dealt with the product, main it to be dubbed “the asbestos of the 2020s” by union chief Zach Smith.
“This can be a harmful product that is recognized to trigger the possibly deadly illness silicosis, and it has no place in our workplaces,” mentioned Queensland industrial relations minister Grace Grace in a press release following the assembly.
“The speed of silicosis sickness in Australia for these working with engineered stone is unacceptable,” mentioned her Western Australian counterpart Simone McGurk. “This prohibition will guarantee future generations of employees are protected against silicosis related to working with engineered stone.”
Ban follows report discovering no protected stage of silica in engineered stone
The transfer comes 9 months after an investigation by three Australian news outlets accused provider Caesarstone of not doing sufficient to warn folks of the hazards of working with the fabric and the nation’s development union launched a marketing campaign calling for the ban.
A subsequent report by the national policy body Safe Work Australia discovered that engineered stone employees have been considerably over-represented in silicosis circumstances and have been being recognized with the illness at a lot youthful ages than employees from different industries, with most being below the age of 35.
It additionally discovered that the chance from engineered stone was distinct from that of pure stone because of the materials’s bodily and chemical composition, and that this was possible contributing to extra speedy and extreme illness.
The report concluded that no stage of silica was protected in engineered stone and that the fabric needs to be prohibited in its entirety.
Silicosis is brought on by tiny particles of silica turning into embedded within the lining of the lungs and manifests in signs resembling shortness of breath, cough, weak point and fatigue.
The situation is life-altering and doubtlessly deadly, with many previously wholesome younger victims describing being unable to work or play with their youngsters.
Caesarstone commits to supplying Australia with “different merchandise”
In response to information of the ban, Caesarstone commented that whereas it disagreed with the choice, it’s taking the required steps to make sure provide of different supplies to Australian customers.
“The Caesarstone model is well-known in Australia and its merchandise have earned super success through the years,” mentioned Caesarstone CEO Yos Shiran. “We’re already taking steps to produce our Australian market with different merchandise whereas sustaining our robust market presence.”
It has previously argued that its materials is protected if dealt with accurately and that the silicosis hazard was the fault of employers and work security our bodies.
Different corporations together with Ikea and Bunnings had already committed to phasing out the material within the Australian market.
The ban will apply to the manufacturing, supplying, processing and putting in of engineered stone however not its elimination, restore, disposal or minor modifications.
Australia’s office ministers will meet once more in March 2024 to finalise particulars of the ban, together with the transition interval for contracts which have already been carried out and the exact definition of engineered stone.
The nation’s Mannequin Work Well being and Security Laws presently exclude concrete and cement merchandise, bricks and pavers, porcelain, ceramic tiles, roof tiles, grout, mortar and render, and plasterboard from the definition of engineered stone, however ministers have indicated that additional products can be added to the exemptions.
This will likely enable future engineered stone merchandise to be exempted from the ban if there may be “compelling proof” that they can be utilized safely.