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Global Asbestos Audits Monitors Crystalline Silica Exposure

Crystalline silica, commonly referred to as silica, is naturally present in substances like sand, stone, concrete, and mortar. It is also a key component in the production of various materials, including engineered stone (utilised in the creation of kitchen and bathroom countertops), bricks, tiles, and specific plastics. When workers engage in activities such as cutting, crushing, drilling, polishing, sawing, or grinding materials containing crystalline silica, it results in the generation of fine dust particles. These particles are sufficiently small to infiltrate deep into the lungs, leading to severe health issues or diseases like silicosis.

Know your legal responsibilities.

Recent amendments to the Model Work Health and Safety Regulations, known as the Model Work Health and Safety Regulations (Engineered Stone) Amendment 2023, have introduced a clear prohibition against the unregulated processing of engineered stone products. These amendments essentially reinforce the existing obligation placed on individuals or entities conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU). This obligation requires them to either eliminate risks to workers’ health and safety arising from engineered stone or, if elimination is not reasonably feasible, to minimise these risks to the greatest extent practically possible.

A PCBU that permits the uncontrolled processing of engineered stone would be in violation of their primary duty of care. The revised model WHS Regulations now explicitly forbid such practices. It is imperative for all stakeholders to recognise and adhere to these updated regulations to ensure the well-being and safety of workers in industries involving crystalline silica-containing materials.
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What is Crystalline Silica.