New model WHS Regulations will help protect workers from silicosis

Improved WHS Regulations to Protect Workers from Silicosis

On the 10th of May, ministers dealing with Work Health and Safety (WHS) across Australia agreed upon two separate amendments to the model WHS regulations. These critical updates aim to fortify the protection of workers against silicosis, a severe lung disease typically resulting from exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

The effective dates of these two imperative sets of adjustments are tied to specific work safety products such as the ‘Bluesafe SWMS‘ and the ‘Bluesafe WHS Management System’. The first set will enforce an engineered stone ban starting on the 1st of July 2024, which will then be followed by more robust regulation of any material laden with crystalline silica from the 1st of September 2024.

Amendment Details for Enhanced Safety

The inaugural batch of modifications to the standard WHS guidelines consists of two innovative national structures tied to the implementation of the engineered stone ban. The first structure enables notification to a WHS regulator about sanctioned work involving legacy engineered stone. The second paves the way for exemption applications associated with certain types of engineered stone, commencing from the 1st of July 2024. The subsequent amendment aims to formalise stronger regulation concerning materials containing crystalline silica, starting from the 1st of September 2024.

Every jurisdiction is obligated to apply these new amendments within their respective work health and safety laws. Only by doing so can they effectively implement the embargo in their jurisdiction from the 1st of July 2024, followed by the beefed-up regulation of all materials containing crystalline silica from the 1st of September 2024.

Additional Resources and Future Plans

We encourage you to visit our revamped engineered stone ban webpage. This comprehensive resource provides all the essential information about the ban in a user-friendly format. Key features include an all-inclusive timeline, summaries of jurisdiction-specific transitional arrangements, resource links specific to each jurisdiction, and answers to frequently asked questions.

We are in the process of developing additional support material designed to help Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) understand how these changes to the model WHS Regulations will impact them.

To learn more, you can read the meeting Communique published by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, which offers further details about the WHS ministers’ meeting.

Stay updated by subscribing to our mailing list and select the ‘occupational lung diseases’ option to receive regular news about our progress on engineered stone.

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