WHS MINISTERS AGREE ON HARMONISED SILICA REGS

Federal WHS ministers recently agreed on amendments to model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations aimed at protecting workers from silicosis.

These changes include implementing an engineered stone ban from 1 July this year and strengthening regulation of all materials containing crystalline silica from 1 September this year.

These amendments introduce national frameworks for notifying regulators about permitted work with legacy engineered stone and for applying for exemptions for certain types of engineered stone.

Individual jurisdictions are required to incorporate these amendments into their own health and safety laws to enforce the ban and stricter regulations. The government is also developing guidance to help businesses (PCBUs) understand and comply with these regulatory changes.

The key differences in Victoria when compared to other jurisdictions from 1 July 2024 will be:

  1. There is no transitional period. Engineered stone benchtops, panels or slabs cannot legally be manufactured, supplied, processed or installed after 1 July 2024 in Victoria.
  2. You are not required to notify WorkSafe if you are working with already installed engineered stone (legacy stone). Such work will be treated as ‘High Risk Crystalline Silica Work’ under our OHS Regulations.
  3. Victoria is not part of the national exemption framework. Duty holder’s seeking an exemption to work with engineered stone in Victoria will need to apply for an exemption under our OHS Regulations. If applying for an exemption in Victoria, the duty holder must clearly demonstrate that work being undertaken is done so under exceptional circumstances and providing the exemption will result in an equivalent level of health and safety to the prohibition.

 

Share Tweet

RELATED

CONTROVERSIAL RULING: ONE WORK GROUP FOR 170 STAFF
In a NSW decision that sets a worrying precedent, an employer has successfully argued that its workplace should only have one work group instead of the five determined by the WHS Regulator....
Read More
TRAINING GAPS LEAD TO $400K FINE
Big Bell Gold Operations has been fined $400,000 after a contract worker was injured while performing a task that wasn't covered in his safety induction. The supervising task manager was also untrained....
Read More
LOW REWARDS, HIGH STRESS DRIVE BURNOUT
A study by Sweden's Karolinska Institute has found that a high effort-reward imbalance (ERI) significantly increases the risk of workers burning out, but high demands are only part of the problem.
Read More