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Prohibition on Uncontrolled Dry Cutting of Silica Containing Materials


The ACT Government introduced new regulations impacting the cutting of material containing crystalline silica with a power tool or other mechanical process.


Originally effective from 14 July 2022, WorkSafe ACT introduced an immediate 3-month exemption for the commencement of the requirement to control the mechanical cutting of such materials using water suppression for building and construction work.  The Regulations would come into effect from 17 October 2022.  Members should note that this exemption DOES NOT apply to engineered stone products and consequently the Regulations affecting engineered stone products came into effect from 14 July 2022.


MBA ACT is extremely concerned by the mismanagement of ACT Government and the imposition that these Regulations will have on the building and construction industry more broadly.  We are aware that there are many circumstances where controlling the cutting of silica containing products is either not practical or is unsafe.


We are calling on feedback from our members to identify certain activities that cannot be performed using water suppression. It would greatly assist us if members could complete the attached table by identifying certain activities, and return to the MBA at


# Equipment / Task Is water standard for this activity? Yes/No Can Water be used? (Yes / No) Justification Proposed Engineering and Work Practice Control Methods to reduce levels to > 0.05 mg/m3
  EXAMPLE – Overhead Drilling (Concrete Ceiling / Soffits) No No
  • Water Damage to tools will occur
  • Water Damage to finished product / area
  • Potential for electrocution if non battery tools used
  • Additional Manual Handling of Water containers for use with tool
  • Additional waterpoints required on site
  • Tools equipped with commercially available dust collection system.
  • Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
  • P2 mask worn by operator

Your response before Friday 26th August 2022 would be appreciated.