Engineered stone prohibition

22 March 2023

Meeting of Commonwealth, State and Territory Work Health and Safety Ministers

Commonwealth, state and territory Work Health and Safety (WHS) Ministers met on 22 March 2024 to agree to a number of key implementation matters associated with a prohibition on the use of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs and to endorse a stronger regulatory framework to manage the risk of exposure to respirable crystalline silica from other materials and products.

WHS Ministers have agreed that from 1 July 2024, there will be a prohibition on the manufacturing, supply, processing and installation of engineered stone benchtops, slabs and panels.

Porcelain products are excluded from the ban along with finished engineered stone products such as jewellery, garden ornaments and sculptures which do not generally require modification and pose minimal risk to the safety of workers.

WHS Ministers have also agreed to transitional arrangements to provide greater certainty for consumers and businesses during the implementation phase of the ban.

In South Australia, there will be a transitional period for contracts for the installation of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs entered into or before 31 December 2023 – these contracts will be exempt from the ban provided installation is completed by 31 December 2024.

Ministers have also agreed to a stronger regulatory framework for high-risk crystalline silica process. This includes:

  • developing a Silica Risk Control Plan aimed at identifying hazards associated with crystalline silica processes and measures to control these risks.
  • providing additional training for workers or others likely expose to high-risk crystalline silica processes.
  • undertaking air and health monitoring for workers.
  • reporting to the relevant WHS regulator any exceedances to workplace exposure standards.

Businesses should be aware that any activities undertaken from 1 July 2024, as part of the transitional arrangements, must be controlled and will be subject to the stronger WHS regulations.

In response to the removal, disposal, repair or minor modification of legacy engineered stone, Ministers have agreed to a notification framework being adopted in the model WHS laws. Under this framework, businesses which plan to undertake permitted work with legacy engineered stone will be required to notify WHS regulators. It will then become an offence should the required information not be provided.

Businesses and consumers should be aware at this stage there are no specific requirements for disposal of engineered stone and will be in line with existing jurisdictional waste management requirements..

Read the full communique from the Work Health and Safety Ministers’ Meeting on 22 March 2024 here.

13 December 2023

Meeting of Commonwealth, State and Territory Work Health and Safety Ministers

State and territory Workplace Relations and Work Health and Safety (WHS) Ministers met on 13 December 2023 and agreed to prohibit the use of engineered stone under the model WHS laws.

The majority of jurisdictions agreed to commence the prohibition from 1 July 2024.

The Commonwealth’s intention is to also place a complementary customs prohibition on engineered stone, to strengthen deterrence at our borders.

The decision was made following the findings and recommendation of Safe Work Australia’s Decision Regulation Impact Statement: Prohibition on the use of engineered stone.

Visit the Safe Work Australia website for the latest updates.

In South Australia, SafeWork SA will manage arrangements for working with engineered stone products installed prior to the prohibition on the basis of a national framework developed by Safe Work Australia.

Hosted by the Small Business Commissioner SA, representatives from key government agencies held an Engineered Stone Response Forum on 31 January 2024 to give small businesses an opportunity to hear direct from the experts and ask questions.

Agencies represented at the forum included SafeWorkSA, ReturnToWorkSA, Consumer and Business Services, Environment Protection Authority and the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science.

Previously installed engineered stone is safe to use and does not need to be removed. Modifications or repairs to engineered stone products should only be undertaken by a qualified tradesperson, and in accordance with work health and safety regulations.

Silica dust is generated in high levels when workers cut, shape, or polish engineered stone. Exposure to silica dust from engineered stone has led to a rapid increase in the number of workers developing the serious lung disease silicosis in Australia.

There is no scientific evidence for a safe threshold of crystalline silica content in engineered stone, or that lower silica content engineered stone is safer to work with.

The prohibition will ban a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) from carrying out work, or directing or allowing a worker to carry out work, on or with engineered stone. This includes manufacturing, supplying, processing and installing engineered stone.

Read the full communique from the Work Health and Safety and Workplace Relations Ministers’ Meeting on 13 December 2023 here.

Before a prohibition comes into effect

Until the prohibition of engineered stone comes into effect, workers and businesses can continue to work with engineered stone in a controlled way.

Under the model WHS Regulations, if you are cutting, grinding, trimming, sanding, abrasive polishing or drilling engineered stone using power tools or other mechanical plant, you must use one of the following:

  • a water suppression (wet cutting) system
  • an on-tool dust extraction system, or
  • local exhaust ventilation system.

All workers who process engineered stone must also be provided with and wear respiratory protective equipment.

See our resources on working safely with engineered stone for more information.

Frequently asked questions

I work with engineered stone, or previously did…

Information for consumers and the general public

Information for impacted businesses

Who do I ask?

Enquiry Responsible party Contact details
Complying with new requirements SafeWork SA SafeWork SA website

Ph: 1300 365 255

Contractual requirements between businesses Small Business Commissioner SA Small Business Commissioner SA

Ph: 1800 072 722

Consumer rights

Consumer advice due to changes from the ban

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Consumer and Business Services

ACCC website – Consumer guarantees

Ph: 131 882

Complain about a retailer Consumer and Business Services CBS consumer complaints form

Ph: 131 882

Modifying engineered stone already installed SafeWork SA SafeWork SA website

Ph: 1300 365 255

Disposal requirements Environment Protection Authority Environment Protection Authority (SA)

Ph: (08) 8204 2004