Talostone® Silicosis statement
BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE
FUTURE FOR THE STONE INDUSTRY
There has been a lot of discussion in media and industry circles recently about engineered stone and its potential impact on stonemasons and fabricators who cut the product prior to installing it in homes and offices around the country.
As one of the leading players in the industry, it is imperative that Talostone® expresses its position on the matter and addresses some of the negative (and somewhat misleading) commentary that has been swirling around.
Firstly, let us state that we are 100 per cent committed to a safe working environment for all stakeholders in the industry. This has been our number one priority since we first opened our doors in Sydney 10 years ago in 2013. The health and safety of workers is a non-negotiable matter for us.
It is also important to point that all existing installed bench tops and vanities are entirely safe and pose absolutely no risk to anyone. Additionally, engineered stone can, and indeed should, be cut safely at all times by stonemasons following the right procedures and using the right equipment.
This position is supported by all Australian governments who are responsible for regulating the legal requirements for safe workplace practices adopted by those cutting engineered stone. Their businesses are legally required to adhere to these rigorous work practices to minimise the risk of crystalline silica being released into the air during the production process.
At Talostone®, we only ever recommend stonemasons who adhere to these strict standards when it comes to cutting stone, which includes wet-cutting to suppress dust. We always provide these firms with a copy of a comprehensive health and safety manual (also listed on our website), as well as detailed guidelines about the safe practices to adopt when cutting engineered stone. We also feature warning labels on all our products to highlight the potential risk.
Unfortunately, it is clear some workplaces in Australia have failed to adhere to these standards, placing a small group of workers at risk of respiratory conditions such as silicosis caused by prolonged exposure to crystalline silica dust released during the cutting process.
Steps have increasingly been taken by governments around Australia over the past few years to improve compliance inspections, but it is clear more needs to be done to create a nationwide approach to the issue of cutting engineered stone, combined with more rigorous and enforceable compliance activities that ensure stonemasons adhere to the right standards to protect workers.
Meanwhile, some people have pushed for a ban on engineered stone. However, this will not solve the issue of silicosis in Australia and would only result in widespread job losses across the country.
This spurious suggestion fails to appreciate that silica is present in a broad range of products in everyday life including natural stone, bricks, concrete and sandstone – which means those working in the tunnelling, excavation and construction sectors would have to cease operations if such a ban was put in place.
Rather, what is needed is a consistent nationwide approach to the issue. Talostone® welcomes the proposed national review to be undertaken by the Federal Government across all products and industries exposed to crystalline silica dust.
As a responsible company, we are fully committed to doing more to ensure workers are protected as much as possible. As a result, we are pleased to announce we are working on a new product range featuring a maximum of 40% crystalline silica. This range, which will still offer the same high level of choice, quality and durability for consumers, is further evidence of Talostone’s® ongoing commitment to do all we can to support the health and safety of the industry.
We are confident this initiative, coupled with the elimination of any remaining unsafe cutting practices among stonemasons, will provide an even greater level of confidence to workers and offer peace of mind to customers who choose Talostone® as their preferred product of choice.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Silica is one of the most common compounds on earth and is composed of two elements: silicon and oxygen (silicon dioxide, SiO2). Silica is found in nature in various forms, mainly as sand, and also in rocks and stones such as marble and granite. Silica is a component of many products in daily use including glass, pottery and quartz surfaces. Silica is very commonly used in construction and features at various concentrations in bricks, blocks, tiles, slabs, cement and concrete.
Talostone® manufactures products to the highest safety standards, Our engineered stone products
are absolutely safe prior to fabrication and after installation. Our employees do not fabricate the products, but do receive comprehensive training on safe
handling and are issued safety equipment for use when entering workplaces where the product is
Yes. We continue to fully support the improvements in safety regulations and workplace
inspections and anticipate further steps will be taken by Federal and state governments to reduce
the risk of silicosis across all exposed industries.
We are working on a new full product range with a maximum of 40% or less crystalline silica than
currently available and will be launching this range in coming months.