Master Builders Australia welcomes the public release of the Decision Regulation Impact Statement: Prohibition on the use of engineered stone.
One work-related injury or illness is one too many. Just like Government, WorkSafe regulators and unions, Master Builders wants to ensure workplaces are safe.
We thank the Ministers for the capacity of industry to consider the report, enabling us to have further consultation with stakeholders before Ministers decide on next steps.
Master Builders supports the proposition that silica-related diseases are preventable and must be comprehensively addressed in industries where there is a high-risk of accelerated silicosis and other occupational lung diseases.
It is critical for states and territories to take a nationally consistent, risk-managed approach to work, health and safety laws. Diversion away from this creates confusion and complexity, and compromises safety outcomes.
Further consideration needs to be given to a workable framework for those who perform minor, incidental or low-risk work, particularly when it is undertaken on engineered stone that is in situ.
Should the Ministers proceed with the recommendation of a licensing scheme, given the potentially significant cost implications to business, Master Builders strongly supports the Jobs and Skills Council, Buildskills Australia, being tasked with the development of a publicly owned, transparently developed national unit of competency for silica awareness.
There also needs to be a greater commitment by WHS Regulators across the country to take a consistent approach to education and enforcement so that businesses clearly understand their obligations, as well as how to mitigate against silica-related risks most appropriately.
Master Builders will continue to work with industry, government and union stakeholders on a workable solution that will achieve the shared goal of reducing high-risk exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
Dee Zegarac, National Director, Media & Public Affairs
0400 493 071 | firstname.lastname@example.org