Federal Government introduces new legislation to address silicosis risks

Federal Government introduces new legislation to address silicosis risks

The Federal Government has introduced new legislation to address silicosis, led by Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke, which will prevent employers from taking out insurance against workers’ deaths.

Announcing the Work Health and Safety Amendment bill, which will also expand upon legislation to include negligence as a fault element in workplace incidents, Mr Burke explained that silicosis risk as an occupational hazard was unacceptable in 2022.

“Urgent action is needed to protect workers from future harm and to support those who have already been failed,” Burke said in parliament.

“This government hears the calls for urgent reform. We are committed to getting national traction on this [silicosis] issue.”

It follows the announcement made by the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, who have claimed that they will ban the use of engineered stone by its members if the government fails to act, labelling the material as the “asbestos of the 2020s”.

The Morrison government agreed to act upon advice from the Dust Diseases Taskforce back in March, noting that “further decisive action is required to better protect workers”.

Major manufacturers and the Master Builders Association are yet to make a comment on the proposed changes.

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