Silica is not just in engineered stone

From 1 July 2024, employers or self-employed person will no longer be permitted to carry out work involving the use, manufacturing, supply, processing or installation of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs. There will be no transitional arrangements in relation to the ban in Victoria from this date.

For the purposes of the ban, engineered stone will be defined as an artificial product that:  

  • contains 1 per cent or more crystalline silica, determined as a weight/weight (w/w) concentration; and  
  • is created by combining natural stone materials with other chemical constituents such as water, resins or pigments; and 
  • becomes hardened; but  

The ban does not include the following silica containing materials:  

  • concrete and cement products;  
  • bricks, pavers and other similar blocks;  
  • ceramic wall and floor tiles;  
  • sintered stone and porcelain products that do not contain resin;
  • roof tiles;  
  • grout, mortar and render;  
  • plasterboard. 

These products still require special care during construction.

Existing engineered stone licences will remain valid until the ban comes into effect.

Any attempt by companies to rebrand engineered stone as another product to intentionally avoid the ban will be subject to strong compliance and enforcement action.

What about previously installed engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs?

Employers will still be allowed to complete repairs, make minor modifications, remove and dispose of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs installed prior to the ban, also known as legacy stone.

Research, analysis, sampling and identification of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs will also remain permitted from 1 July 2024.

From 1 July 2024, you will not need a licence if you are working with legacy stone.

Exemptions from the ban

A process for seeking an exemption to use banned products is being developed.

Safe Work Australia will provide advice relating to further development of this process to WHS Ministers for consideration by the end of April 2024.