CFMEU renews calls for ban on “killer” manufactured stone products,

CFMEU renews calls for ban on “killer” manufactured stone products,

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union is again calling on the NSW Parliament to commit to banning certain manufactured stone products in a bid to protect workers from the risks of silicosis.

Darren Greenfield, CFMEU NSW Secretary, explained that silicosis is “a killer and manufactured stone products pose an unacceptable risk to workers and must be banned.”

“Nearly one-in-four engineered stoneworkers who have been in the industry since 2018 are suffering from silicosis or some other dust-related disease. When you consider the high mortality rate of silicosis, this shocking fact must prompt immediate action.”

“If one-in-four workers in any other industry were being poisoned by their work environment, there would be widespread outrage and demands for action. That should be no different for stone and construction workers.”

“In evidence presented to the NSW Parliament on Wednesday, CaesarStone, a major importer and fabricator of manufactured stone products, admitted that since 2019 they have not managed to hold an insurance policy for common law damages claims.”

“Insurers will not touch this deadly product for a good reason, and it is time for NSW to read the tea leaves and implement a ban on its production and sale.”

The secondary concern following the exposure of workers is strain of increasing numbers of victims upon the NSW Dust Diseases Scheme, which supports testing and treating.

The detail from SafeWork NSW noted that there are significant levels of non-compliance, which has resulted in a number of industry crackdowns. The union insists that “high-silica products are so inherently dangerous that workplace controls aren’t the answer and the products containing them must be banned.”

The union believes the stone, as a recent addition to the architectural landscape in Australia, is non-essential and is largely a cheap, fashion-forward option that is ultimately a “deadly product.”

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