News & Insights
WorkSafe Victoria Announces Ban on Uncontrolled Dry Cutting of Engineered Stone
WorkSafe Victoria has announced that the uncontrolled dry cutting of engineered stone has been banned. In the statement published on the WorkSafe Victoria website, it is highlighted that on-tool water suppression or dust extraction devices must be used, along with respiratory protection equipment, when conducting abrasive works on engineered stone.
Greencap's Occupational Hygiene team are equipped to assist you in meeting your regulatory obligations and keeping your workforce safe from the risks of Respirable Crystalline Silica.
Risk-Based Hygiene Management Plans
Within Greencap’s consulting team are a number of certified occupational hygienists (COH) and full members of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH) who assist clients with the development of risk-based hygiene management plans in various states of Australia.
Greencap can conduct risk assessments and also develop and conduct workplace personal exposure monitoring for respirable crystalline silica and other workplace hazards.
Greencap’s experienced occupational hygiene team undertake the identification of crystalline silica hazards through a five-step process:
- Basic characterisation
- Workplace information gathering
- Exposure assessment
- Hazard control
Greencap has experience in mitigating potential occupational exposures and can assist workplaces in ensuring that current controls are or continue to be effective and recommend new or control improvements.
In addition to other controls, Greencap’s Occupational Hygienists can assist with PPE including selection of appropriate respiratory protection equipment.
Excerpt from WorkSafe Victoria's Article "Uncontrolled dry cutting of engineered stone banned":
"A ban on the uncontrolled dry cutting of engineered stone has come into effect across Victoria to better protect workers from exposure to deadly silica dust.
Occupational health and safety regulations now prohibit the cutting, grinding and abrasive polishing of engineered stone with power tools, unless on-tool water suppression or dust extraction devices are in place and respiratory protection equipment is used.
If it is not reasonably practicable to use water suppression or dust extraction, local exhaust ventilation must be used.
Engineered stone, sometimes also called reconstituted stone, can contain up to 95 per cent crystalline silica, which is a hazardous substance that can lead to serious health effects if it is inhaled.
When engineered stone products are processed, very fine dust containing respirable crystalline silica is released into the air.
People working with these products, such as stonemasons, are at high risk of being exposed to the dust if it is not controlled.
Exposure can result in silicosis, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer, kidney damage and scleroderma.
The new regulations will dramatically cut workers’ exposure to crystalline silica, and therefore reduce their likelihood of developing silicosis.
Employers and people that are self-employed, or are managing or control a workplace, are responsible for making sure the required measures are in place and equipment is supplied."