WorkSafe has released a new best practice guide for employers in the engineered stone industry, aimed at reducing the risk of workers contracting deadly silicosis.
Minister for Workplace Safety, Jill Hennessy said the new code of conduct had been developed in consultation with medical experts, employees and employers.
“All employers should be using it [the code] to reduce the risks of their workers of contracting deadly silicosis,” Ms Hennessy said.
“Where a worker contracts silicosis, any failure to adhering to the code may also be used as evidence in criminal proceedings against that employer,” she said.
“Silicosis has had a debilitating effect on too many tradies – that’s why we’ve banned dry cutting and are rolling out an unprecedented enforcement blitz to help protect Victorian workers.”
Ms Hennessy said the code provided critical guidance to employers working with engineered stone, including how to comply with the prohibition on uncontrolled dry cutting of engineered stone and health monitoring requirements.
She said the code applied to all workplaces where engineered stone was handled, including: manufacturers; suppliers; persons who have management or control of a workplace; employers; self-employed persons; employees; and independent contractors.
Ms Hennessy said WorkSafe had made 1,240 visits to workplaces and issued 436 compliance notices, ordering employers to improve their safe guards against exposure to silica dust.