A national law firm dealing in silica-related cases has welcomed the recommendations for a silica and manufactured stone ban.
Slater and Gordon Head of National Asbestos and Dust Disease Joanne Wade said acting quickly on a ban would save lives.
“There is no cure for silicosis and silica related diseases, but they can be prevented,” she said.
“It has long been our firm’s position that workers will keep dying unless we ban engineered stone and stop the exposure to this deadly dust.”
Safe Work Australia released its report at the end of October recommending Australia ban silica and manufactured stone.
High silica-based stone products cause silicosis – an incurable lung disease common in tradies who are regularly exposed to it.
“In our legal practice, we have seen increasing cases of silica-related diseases arising often at the advanced and debilitating stages, due to exposure to silica dust from engineered stone,” Joanne said.
“These cases are workers in the prime of their life, with young families, mortgages and a whole lifetime ahead of them.
“We are also worried about the rate of undiagnosed silica-related injuries in workers and retired workers in industries where monitoring has not historically been imposed.”
Federal Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said any ban would need to be done in collaboration between all states and territories.
While a timeline for a government-level remains unclear, the CFMEU plans to implement a complete ban on the use of silica and manufactured stone by members from July 2024.