ALARMING U.S. FINDINGS PROMPT MORE CALLS FOR STONE BANS

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has reiterated its calls for engineered stone products to be banned, irrespective of the percentage of silicosis-causing crystalline silica they contain.

‘Emissions from engineered stone are qualitatively different from natural stone, with experts finding that even engineered stone products [like kitchen benchtops] with low silica levels are still highly dangerous for those fabricating and installing,’ the ACTU said in a statement.

Earlier this year, the ACTU joined forces with the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists, Cancer Council Australia and the CFMMEU to call for the blanket ban, countering plans from some quarters to only ban engineered stone products with high silica concentrations (see related article).

The ACTU's renewed demands were triggered by the release of findings from US bodies that about 100,000 workers in that country could be at risk of silicosis from exposure to silica dust, and about 2.3 million US workers are exposed to silica in their jobs.

‘We are now seeing on a global scale how this deadly dust impacts those who work with it. Industry is failing to demonstrate that engineered stone products can be worked with safely. A full ban is the only option,’ ACTU assistant secretary Liam O'Brien said.

Source: OHS alert, 27 July

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