With a view to reduce the instance of disease from workplace exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust, Safe Work Australia released a national guide for businesses and individuals working with silica during September 2019. This was closely followed by the publication of a Code of Practice for Queensland workplaces in the stone benchtop industry which provided a framework for their work health and safety duties and outlines controls for work involving silica dust.
Announced today, the Andrews Labor Government has established a code of conduct for Victorian workplaces that handle engineered stone, including manufacturers, suppliers, persons who have management or control of a workplace, employers, self-employed persons, and employees, including independent contractors.
The code forms part of the Labor Government's action plan and sets out the obligations and duties of Victorian employers seeking to ensure a working environment that is safe and without health risks.
Since the government confirmed its commitment to a state-wide ban on uncontrolled dry cutting of materials that contain crystalline silica dust, WorkSafe has made 1,240 visits to workplaces and issued 436 compliance notices ordering employers to improve their safe guards against exposure to silica dust.
If you or someone you know has been exposed to respirable silica dust, we invite you contact our dust diseases team to discuss your potential rights and entitlements to us on (03) 9321 9988.