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Employer

Edstein Creative Pty Ltd

Incident

Worker exposed to silica dust over a period of nearly seven years

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Introduction

Edstein Creative, a stone benchtop supplier in NSW, has been fined $375,000 for failing to protect its workers from exposure to harmful silica dust, marking a significant enforcement action by SafeWork NSW.

Details of the Incident

The company was found guilty of exposing an employee to deadly silica dust over nearly seven years while installing engineered stone benchtops. This type of stone, often used in kitchens, is known for releasing respirable crystalline silica during cutting, grinding, and polishing processes, which can lead to the severe lung disease silicosis.

Current Status and Company Response

Edstein Creative pled guilty to the charges, acknowledging the failure in their duty to minimize the risk to their workers. This case comes as part of a broader crackdown on the use of engineered stone, which is set to be banned nationally due to its health risks.

Legal and Safety Measures

This is the first case under the NSW Work Health and Safety Act specifically related to silica dust exposure. The ruling underscores the judiciary’s commitment to holding businesses accountable for workplace safety, especially concerning hazardous materials.

Authorities’ Reaction

SafeWork NSW has emphasized a zero-tolerance policy for endangering workers’ lives with silica dust. Trent Curtin, a representative from SafeWork NSW, stated that while the upcoming national ban on engineered stone will enhance safety, the authority will continue its stringent inspections and enforcement to protect workers.

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