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New WHS Rules: How They Impact Transport and Disposal of Engineered Stone in NSW

WHS Guardian

3 min read

Jun 5

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The landscape of work health and safety regulations in New South Wales is set to change dramatically with the upcoming prohibition on engineered stone. Effective from 1 July 2024, these new rules aim to protect workers from the severe health risks posed by silica dust, a known cause of silicosis. This article outlines the key changes and how they will affect the transport and disposal of engineered stone.


Understanding the Prohibition

The NSW Government, alongside other states and territories, has agreed to ban the use, supply, and manufacture of engineered stone. This decision follows findings by Safe Work Australia that no safe level of silica exposure exists in engineered stone products. The ban will take effect from 1 July 2024, with specific transitional arrangements and safety controls in place.


Transport of Engineered Stone

  • Secure Packaging and Handling

    • Engineered stone must be securely packaged to prevent the release of silica dust during transport. Packaging materials and methods should ensure that dust does not escape during handling and transit.

    • Workers involved in handling these materials must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including respirators that meet Australian standards.

  • Vehicle Requirements

    • Transport vehicles must have enclosed cargo areas to contain any potential dust. Some vehicles may need to be equipped with dust suppression systems.

    • Regular cleaning protocols are required to prevent dust accumulation in vehicles.


Disposal of Engineered Stone


  • Designated Disposal Sites

Disposal of engineered stone must occur in designated areas specifically prepared to manage silica dust risks. These sites should include enclosed spaces or areas with dust suppression systems to contain and control dust.

  • Safety Protocols and Training

    • Workers involved in the disposal process must undergo training on safe handling techniques and the use of PPE. This training ensures that workers are aware of the risks and the necessary precautions to take.

    • Continuous air monitoring at disposal sites is required to ensure that silica dust levels remain below hazardous thresholds.

  • Engineering Controls

    • Use of wet methods or vacuum systems during disposal activities is mandatory to reduce dust generation. Local exhaust ventilation systems should be implemented to capture dust at its source.


Compliance and Enforcement

SafeWork NSW will enforce these new regulations through regular inspections and compliance checks. Businesses must maintain detailed records of their transportation and disposal activities, including documentation of the safety measures implemented and monitoring data. Non-compliance with these regulations can result in significant penalties and enforcement actions.


Transitional Arrangements

There are transitional provisions for contracts entered into on or before December 31, 2023. These contracts must be completed by December 31, 2024, and all activities during this period must adhere to the stringent safety controls in place.


Conclusion

The new WHS rules represent a significant shift in how engineered stone is handled, transported, and disposed of in NSW. These changes are designed to protect workers from the serious health risks posed by silica dust exposure. By following these new guidelines and regulations, businesses can ensure compliance and contribute to a safer working environment.


For more detailed information, refer to the official announcements from SafeWork NSW and the NSW Government.



This article was written by WHS Guardian to provide a comprehensive overview of the upcoming changes to WHS regulations regarding engineered stone in NSW. Information may not be specific to your situation. For further assistance and detailed advice, please contact WHS Guardian on 1300 183 984 or a legal practitioner.

WHS Guardian

3 min read

Jun 5

12

0

0

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