Engineered stone ban from 1 July

10 May 2024

On 6 May, the Queensland Government confirmed engineered stone will be banned across the state from 1 July 2024, with no transition period for contracts entered into prior to 13 December 2023.

The ban means that from 1 July, work with engineered stone in the manufacturing, supply, processing, and installation of benchtops, panels and slabs must cease even if contracts were entered into prior to the ban date.

There will be no transition period for the ban, contrary to what was previously flagged by the government.

The ban follows the agreement by the federal, and state and territory Work Health and Safety Ministers on 22 March to prohibit the use, supply, and manufacture of engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs containing crystalline silica from 1 July 2024.

The Ministers determined that the definition of engineered stone will be limited to engineered stone benchtops, panels, and slabs. Several other products will be excluded from the prohibitions.

We welcome measures to keep building and construction workers safe. This announcement confirming the ban will be enforced from 1 July delivers long-awaited certainty for the industry and answers our calls on whether or not a transition period would apply.

Whilst the ban applies to engineered stone, when working with silica-containing products including natural stone and other products excluded by the ban, we reinforce that contractors must apply all safety measures in accordance with the Queensland WHS legislation.

This includes the Managing respirable crystalline silica dust exposure in construction and manufacturing of construction elements Code of Practice 2022 and where applicable the Managing respirable crystalline silica dust exposure in the stone benchtop industry Code of Practice 2019.

All SWMS and other safety policies, procedures and documentation should also be reviewed to ensure they reflect the latest developments.

Following confirmation of the ban, we wrote to Minister Grace twice, urging the Miles Government to honour its previous announcements that indicated that those with contracts entered into before 13 December 2023, would have until 31 December 2024 to complete the supply, installation or processing of engineered stone, subject to such work being performed safely and in accordance with existing WHS laws.

Businesses have relied on these commitments and have been preparing for a transitional period beyond 1 July 2024, for any contracts entered into before 13 December 2023. It remains to be seen how many businesses suffer some sort of financial impact.

We acknowledge the state government’s decision not to adopt a transition period was due to their view that there was an unacceptable risk to workers’ safety.

We urge government to make the appropriate regulatory changes as quickly as possible, to ensure builders with contracts on foot can obtain agreement with their clients on a variation, allowing them to find alternative products, and complete their works as seamlessly as possible.

Advice for builders with existing contracts involving engineered stone

For those members who have contracts to install engineered stone, but cannot install it before the ban comes into effect, we encourage you to seek variations from your clients using the state government’s announcement as your reference.

If you have issues getting an agreement with your client, contact Master Builders Members Legal on 1300 30 50 10.

Disposing of engineered stone

The disposal of engineered stone held in stock will be in line with existing jurisdictional waste management requirements. It’s best to check the advice from your local council or waste provider on disposing of such stock.

Working with legacy engineered stone

The ban will not apply to the removal, repair, minor modification or disposal of engineered stone prior to the ban on 1 July 2024.

Work with previously installed engineered stone after 1 July 2024 will be subject to future regulation under model work health and safety laws.  These regulations are expected to be implemented by 1 September 2024.

In the meantime, regulations prohibiting uncontrolled processing of engineered stone, sintered stone and porcelain benchtops, panels and slabs will continue to apply.

For advice on variations to existing contracts, working with legacy engineered stone, or anything else pertaining to the ban, please call us on 1300 30 50 10.

Read the Queensland Government’s media release

Read our letters to Minister Grace

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