The third stage of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s respirable crystalline silica dust compliance audits is underway, with inspectors to audit all identified stone benchtop fabricators operating in Queensland.
The audits continue efforts to manage the serious health risks faced by stone benchtop industry workers, and forms part of an ongoing series of compliance activities in this industry.
Inspectors will assess individual workplace compliance with the Managing respirable crystalline silica dust exposure in the stone benchtop industry Code of Practice 2019((PDF, 0.91 MB)) which came into force on 31 October 2019. Findings from this campaign will inform future compliance action and interventions by WHSQ, as a whole or in targeted areas of the industry.
The level of compliance required in the code is more stringent than in previous guidelines. To assist, WHSQ has provided all identified stone benchtop fabricators with information and resources clarifying what compliance with the code looks like and how to prepare for the audits.
Under the code, and in addition to ensuring suitable controls are in place to prevent workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica, PCBUs must engage an occupational hygienist to undertake air monitoring at least once every six months for the first two years (from commencement of the COP or commencement of the business). This means all PCBUs operating since 31 October 2019 need to have undertaken air monitoring prior to 30 April 2020, and a second round of air monitoring by 31 October 2020.
PCBUs also need ensure all stone benchtop fabrication and installation workers have annual health checks and ongoing health monitoring.
Individual workplace guidance and support is available through the Injury Prevention and Management program. This program provides free assessments and guidance tailored to your business’s needs by specialist advisors.
For more information on managing respirable crystalline silica risks in your workplace, visit worksafe.qld.gov.au