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Worksafe Inspection Program - stone benchtop fabricators

June 20, 2019

Worksafe have initiated a proactive inspection program in response to serious concerns about the management and health surveillance of silica dust in workplaces where stone-cutting is performed.

Inspection Program

Worksafe are focusing on the implementation of tighter safety controls on dust management in workplaces where there is a risk of exposure to silica dust.

The program will be conducted over the next 12 months.

To date inspectors have visited 26 workplaces and issued a total of 216 improvement notices.

Inspectors will be focusing on:

  • Whether the hazard of silica dust is being adequately managed;
  • Wet work methods used when cutting, grinding and polishing stone. Workers should not conduct uncontrolled dry cutting;
  • Engineering controls and the isolation of workers from silica dust;
  • Assessment of risk and whether workers are kept safe;
  • Priority areas such as noise, manual tasks, guarding of plant, electricity, mobile plant and slips, trips and falls;
  • Provision of information, training and instruction;
  • Use of protective equipment, air monitoring, local exhaust ventilation and on-tool extraction;
  • Health surveillance for any worker who is exposed to silica and ensuring that workers are examined by an appointed medical practitioner;
  • The safe storage and handling of stone slabs; and
  • Issues with the on-site installation of benchtops.

The checklist for the inspection program, the Safety Alert and the Guidance Note for “Safe Stone Product Fabrication and Installation” can be accessed from www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.

Working Safely with Silica

HIA’s Information Sheet on Silica Dust Hazards and Solutions can be accessed here.

For more information please contact a Workplace Advisor on 1300 650 620