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Prohibition on uncontrolled processing of engineered stone

Safe Work Australia has published the Model Work Health and Safety Regulations (Engineered Stone) Amendment 2023. The model WHS amendment includes a prohibition on the uncontrolled processing of engineered stone. The amendment provides clarity to PCBUs and Australian WHS regulators on how engineered stone is defined. The amendments will only apply when adopted into the WHS laws of a state or territory.

What is the model prohibition?

The model prohibition provides that PCBUs must not process, or direct or allow a worker to process, engineered stone unless the processing of the stone is controlled.

This means that the use of power tools or other mechanical plant to cut, grind, trim, sand, abrasive polish or drill the engineered stone must be controlled by prescribed methods.

What are the prescribed control methods?

Under the model prohibition, processing of engineered stone is controlled if at least one of the following systems is used and each worker who is processing engineered stone is also provided with respiratory protective equipment:

  • a water delivery system that supplies a continuous feed of water over the stone being processed to suppress the generation of dust
  • an on-tool extraction system
  • a local exhaust ventilation system.

What is engineered stone?

This model WHS amendment defines engineered stone as an artificial product that contains crystalline silica; and

  • is created by combining natural stone materials with other chemical constituents such as water, resins or pigments; and 
  • undergoes a process to become hardened.

But does not include:

  • concrete and cement products
  • bricks, pavers and other similar blocks
  • ceramic and porcelain wall and floor tiles
  • roof tiles
  • grout, mortar and render
  • plasterboard.

The model WHS regulations define engineered stone and prohibit the use of power tools or other mechanical plant to process engineered stone unless the work is controlled by prescribed methods.

For information on the WHS laws in your state or territory, please refer to:

To find out more, contact HIA's Contracts and Compliance team

Email us

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