Victorian company fined over safety failures for engineered stone products

Victorian company fined over safety failures for engineered stone products

A Victorian stonemasonry company has faced the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court to answer two charges of failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment.

In court, it was heard that in March 2020, a WorkSafe inspector visited the Hilton Stone site as part of an inspection blitz, focusing on reducing the risks of exposure to crystalline silica.

The inspector that attended the site found that equipment used for cutting or grinding the engineered stone did not have appropriate dust suppression controls, like an integrated water delivery system. No personal protective equipment was used, nor were health or respirator fit checks conducted on workers at the site.

Executive Director of Health and Safety for WorkSafe, Narelle Beer, expressed the importance of protecting workers from exposure to various forms of crystalline silica.

“Exposure to silica dust can lead to deadly diseases such as silicosis, which is a scarring of the lungs, kidney disease, lung cancer and autoimmune diseases,” Dr Beer said.

“Employers must ensure all safety measures are in place so workers aren’t exposed to levels of silica dust that are above the exposure standard.”

“WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute any duty holder who fails to do all that they can to protect their workers from the harmful dust.”

Hilton Stone was fined $12,500 for failing to provide proper controls to reduce the risk of exposure to silica dust, in addition to a fine of $12,500 for failing to provide proper guarding on a power saw at the site and court and investigative costs of $6,157.

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