Australia: New worker protections against silica will save lives

Australian national union federation ACTU has welcomed a 22 March 2024 decision by the country’s Labor government and work health and safety (WHS) ministers to move closer to a full ban on engineered stone and implement new regulations to protect all workers from exposure to silica dust.

ACTU assistant secretary Liam O’Brien: “Next month we mark International Workers’ Memorial Day, a day where we remember those who have lost their lives at work and fight to ensure others don’t have the same fate. The passing of these protections is a fitting tribute and testament to the hard work of unions in keeping us all safe at work.

“Unions will always fight to keep workers safe from harm. Unions thank WHS Ministers for listening to workers and health experts in banning engineered stone. None of this would’ve been possible without the campaign of unions, like the CFMEU, and organisations that demanded strong action to keep workers safe.

“The war on silicosis is not over until these new rules are in place, properly enforced, and employers and workers are aware of them. The best way to protect yourself and your workmates is to join your union.”