How could this affect your business?

In November 2021, amendments were made to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) to strengthen the regulatory regime to better protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

The changes will:

  • make permanent Victoria’s prohibition on uncontrolled dry-cutting of engineered stone;
  • introduce Australia’s first licensing regime for engineered stone, including increased manufacturer and supplier duties; and
  • add additional regulatory oversight of high-risk crystalline silica work outside of engineered stone across all industries, including the construction and earth resources industries.

The following requirements will commence on May 15 2022

High-risk crystalline silica work – Identification and management

Who does this affect?

Employers or self-employed persons outside of the engineered stone industry who undertake high-risk silica work (work with or are exposed to crystalline silica).

What does this mean for you?

If you or your workers are carrying out crystalline silica processes, you will need to identify whether they meet the definition of ‘high-risk’ crystalline silica work.

You will be required to do the following:

  • Identify high-risk crystalline silica work:

Before you begin work, you can complete a risk assessment to identify if the crystalline silica process(s) you perform are high-risk.

  • Record high-risk crystalline silica work:

If a risk assessment is completed, a written document is required outlining how the matters listed were taken into account and whether or not the process(s) are high risk.

  • Develop a crystalline silica hazard control statement (CSHCS):

Before commencing high-risk crystalline silica work, an employer or a self-employed person must prepare a crystalline silica hazard control statement (CSHCS).

Mining or quarrying

If high-risk crystalline silica work involves a quarrying or tunnelling process, an employer or a self-employed person is required to, before the work commences, collect samples of materials to be used in the quarrying or tunnelling process for analysis to identify the proportion of crystalline silica.

Manufacturer and supplier duties

From May 15 2022, if you manufacture or supply products containing crystalline silica, you must provide any person you are supplying a crystalline silica substance to the following in writing:

  • the proportion of crystalline silica in the substance;
  • the name, address and telephone number of the manufacturer (in Australia) or the importing supplier;
  • any exposure controls, exposure standards, engineering controls and personal protection information about the crystalline silica substance; and
  • information on the handling and storage of the crystalline silica substance including how it can be used safely.

Further information can be found on the WorkSafe website shortly.

If you have any questions, please call WorkSafe’s Advisory Service on 1800 136 089.

For information in your language, call TIS National on 13 14 50

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