Safe Work NSW will implement a silica register as part of new workplace safety laws being introduced.
The register is aimed at tracking and tracing workers exposed to silica to better help provide healthcare and intervene early.
High silica-based stone products cause silicosis – an incurable lung disease common in tradies who are regularly exposed to it.
Commonwealth WHS stakeholders are slated to meet in the coming weeks to determine a regulatory framework around manufactured stone.
The CFMEU – and other union bodies – have resolved to completely stamp out the use of manufactured stone among its members by mid-2024.
“I’m sick and tired of seeing lives unnecessarily lost and people being injured at work,” Work Health and Safety and Industrial Relations Minister Sophie Cotsis said.
“These new laws demonstrate just how seriously this government takes keeping workers safe in NSW.
“Everyone deserves a safe place to work, everyone deserves to come home safely to their family and loved ones.”
Asbestos is also in the firing line under new laws, as it continues to find its way into workplaces across the state.
Safe Work NSW will now be able to issue ‘prohibited asbestos notice’ which will require workplaces to take safety measures to remove asbestos from their premises.
The notice is aimed at ensuring any illegal asbestos is removed from workplaces.
New fines and penalties have also been introduced. This includes increasing maximum fines from $798,383 to $2,168,029 and the maximum imprisonment time from 5 years to 10 years. These would be for Category 1 offences – the worst possible offences of the WHS Laws.
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