Last week, MBA ACT wrote to the Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety outlining industry concerns about the processes to be implemented when cutting crystalline silica containing materials.
Yesterday afternoon, Jacqueline Agius, WorkSafe ACT Commissioner, confirmed that a time limited exemption for the commencement of the requirement to control the mechanical cutting of such materials using water suppression would be implemented.
MBA ACT advises that the commencement for these processes has been delayed until 17 October 2022.
Members are reminded that the general duty under section 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, to identify and apply all reasonably practicable measures to eliminate or minimise the risks of exposure to silica dust, remain in place. This means that a PCBU must continue to assess and apply all reasonably practicable measures, which may include water suppression.
Who doesn’t the exemption apply to?
Those members who work with engineered stone products, the obligation to use water suppression and at least one other identified control measure when cutting such products will not be affected by the exemption. These requirements will commence on 14 July 2022.
What’s the process now?
During the exemption period, ACT Government and WorkSafe ACT will work with industry to determine whether there are silica containing material cutting processes that cannot be safely and practicably performed using water suppression. MBA ACT will take member concerns and feedback to these discussions.
Any member queries in relation to this Member Alert can be directed to Michael Hopkins or Kristie Burt via firstname.lastname@example.org.