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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Practical approach needed to avoid shutdown of housing sites

Media release

Practical approach needed to avoid shutdown of housing sites

Media release
HIA fears large parts of the residential building industry could come to a halt next Monday, if ACT Government does not reverse its decision to introduce impractical safety laws managing crystalline silica.

“We have written to Minister Gentleman urging him to immediately halt the new laws, on the basis that they are impossible to comply with, inconsistent with national safety rules, and are not the rules the government’s own policy set out in April this year,” said HIA Executive Director, Greg Weller.

“The new regulations require that any cutting, drilling or grinding products that contain silica must use ‘wet-cutting’ to manage the risk of harmful dust, for all products in all situations. This includes working in indoor areas with electrical tools.

“The industry whole-heartedly supports the intention of preventing harm from this dangerous dust, however, the physical tools to comply with this strategy and use water simply don’t exist.

“The use of water in close proximity to electrical equipment will introduce unacceptable safety risks to workers.

“While the government might say this is best practice and driven by safety concerns, it is inconsistent with the approach to managing this risk in the rest of Australia, and the world.

“WorkSafe ACT made the very sensible decision in June to give industry a three-month exemption from the rules while further discussions take place. However, there has been no indication as to what (if any) changes the Minister will make before next Monday. It is not reasonable to leave the industry in the dark with only days to go before the exemption ends.

“HIA has requested the Minister change the regulations to align with the government’s policy to permit controlled dry cutting for specific products where water will create a risk. 

“These tools can be made safe using other approved methods and should be allowed in the ACT as they are across the rest of Australia.”

For more information please contact:

Greg Weller

Executive Director - ACT/Southern NSW
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