Australia has announced a total ban on the manufacture, importation, and use of engineered stone following recommendations made by Safe Work Australia.
The move was made following escalating health concerns faced by workers using engineered stone which, due to its high silica content, is known to cause potentially fatal illnesses such as silicosis.
On 13 December 2023 a national ban on the importation, manufacturing and use of engineered stone was announced, following an agreement reached between Commonwealth, State and Territory Leaders. The ban was in response to recommendations made by Safe Work Australia, which released a report in October 2023, investigating the risk posed by engineered stone.
The ban is set to take effect in Queensland along with the majority of states and territories from 1 July 2024. The Commonwealth has also flagged that it will provide an additional layer of enforcement at the border by putting into place a customs prohibition on engineered stone.
The ban was first placed on the national agenda in 2018 by Queensland, following escalating health concerns faced by workers using engineered stone. Due to its high silica content engineered stone is known to cause potentially fatal illnesses such as silicosis in those who fabricate it.
The Safe Work Australia report found that stonemasons utilising engineered stone developed silicosis at a disproportionate rate to workers in other industries.
Major retailers including Bunnings, IKEA and the Independent Hardware Group have already announced they will phase out sales of engineered stone, and more are expected to follow suit following this announcement.