INEFFECTIVE WATER SUPPRESSION: $5000 FINE

Bas Brothers Marble and Granite is a Craigieburn-based manufacturer of engineered stone benchtops containing crystalline silica which can be released into the air during dry cutting, grinding, or polishing with power tools.

In February 2021, a WorkSafe Inspector visited Bas brothers to find a worker using an abrasive polishing tool on engineered stone without the required control measures. The worker was required to use a bottle with a small hole to apply water to the stone, during tool use. The supervisor admitted the water hose to the tool had come loose, and they were awaiting a plumber to fix it.

Inhaling respirable crystalline silica dust has long been understood to lead to silica-related diseases like silicosis.

Regulation 319C(1) of our OHS Regs requires employers to control the use of power tools for cutting, grinding, or abrasive polishing of engineered stone at the workplace through integrated water delivery, on-tool extraction systems with proper dust capture, or local exhaust ventilation.

The Stone Ambassador branded engineered stone used in the workplace was analysed and found to have 88% crystalline silica content.

Later that month, the Inspector revisited the workplace and confirmed the tool had been fitted with a water hose in compliance with the regulations.

Bas Brothers pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 319C(1) and was fined $5,000 without conviction and ordered to pay $3,906 in costs.

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