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National ban on engineered stone announced

Queensland’s longstanding campaign to prohibit the use of engineered stone has culminated in a national ban on the dangerous product.

Commonwealth, State and Territory leaders agreed to the national ban at an Industrial Relations Ministers’ Meeting in mid-December 2023.

Australia is now the first country in the world to announce a ban on engineered stone and the ban will take effect in Queensland, along with the majority of states and territories from 1 July 2024.

Until the ban comes into effect, workers and businesses can continue to work with engineered stone in a controlled way in accordance with Workplace Health and safety regulations.

Engineered stone is a material made by mixing crushed stone with a resin binder.

It usually contains about 90 per cent crushed quartz, with the rest made up of metals and coloured glass.

Queensland first put a proposed ban on the national agenda in 2018 in response to escalating health impacts on workers, including silicosis, caused by using engineered stone.

Hundreds of cases of silicosis have since been diagnosed in people after working with engineered stone.

Major retailers including Bunnings and IKEA have already announced they will phase out sales of engineered stone.

Queensland’s action on engineered stone

  • Audited all known engineered stone benchtop fabricators.
  • Screened over 1,000 workers under Queensland’s WorkCover scheme.
  • Implemented Australia’s first code of practice for the engineered stone industry in 2019.
  • Implemented Australia’s first code of practice for silica in the construction industry.
  • Established Australia’s first Dust Lung Disease register in July 2019.
  • Allocated $5 million for dust lung research.