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WorkSafe unveils vital campaign ahead of engineered stone ban

WorkSafe unveils vital campaign ahead of engineered stone ban

A new WorkSafe campaign is gearing up to raise awareness about the upcoming ban on engineered stone, effective 1 July 2024, while reinforcing employers’ responsibilities to protect workers before the ban takes effect.

The initiative specifically targets individuals working with engineered stone, including those in regional communities, and will be translated for culturally and linguistically diverse communities heavily involved in the industry.

Scheduled to run throughout February this year, the campaign precedes a meeting of national workplace safety ministers that will finalise details of the ban on work involving the manufacturing, supply, processing and installation of engineered stone.

Since 1 January 2024, businesses and consumers have been strongly advised against entering into contracts for engineered stone products due to potential legal impediments in fulfilling these agreements.

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Victorian Minister for WorkSafe and the TAC Danny Pearson highlighted the availability of comprehensive health assessments for workers in Victoria who have been exposed to engineered stone. He emphasised that the prohibition of this product will protect future generations of workers.

“No worker should worry that one day they won’t be able to breathe simply because they’ve done their job,” said Minister Pearson. “This campaign is about making sure workers know their rights and employers their responsibilities – before and after 1 July.”

Victoria has implemented some of the strictest regulations pertaining to engineered stone, introducing Australia’s first licensing scheme for businesses working with crystalline silica. These protective measures, including the ban of uncontrolled dry-cutting of engineered stone, remain in force.

Following national agreement, the Victorian Government will enforce the prohibition on the use of all engineered stone through amendments to occupational health and safety laws.

Workers in the industry can undergo comprehensive health assessments at the Alfred Occupational Respiratory Clinic, offered in partnership between WorkSafe and the Alfred. As Australia’s sole dedicated public hospital occupational respiratory clinic, it offers a range of diagnostic tools and specialist services not readily available to GPs. This increases the likelihood of early identification while saving time and reducing stress for workers and their families.

The WorkSafe campaign launches this week and will run across print, online and social media platforms, including translations in Mandarin, Vietnamese and Italian.

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