CHASNZ calls for action on deadly dust from engineered stone bench tops.
Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ) is asking Government and industry to take action to eliminate the harm from kitchen bench tops and other products made from engineered stone containing high amounts of silica.
Evidence in New Zealand and overseas shows that dust from engineered stone can be deadly and has been linked to the incurable lung disease silicosis, an illness likened to asbestosis.
CHASNZ Chief Executive Chris Alderson says “CHASNZ’s view is that stronger measures are urgently required like those currently being considered by the Australian Government who are looking at a range of measures from banning this material to controlling it through strict licensing.
“We have been monitoring the associated risk of acute accelerated silicosis and its links to engineered stone products and it’s now time for Government and industry to take leadership roles to provide a solution that eliminates this danger to workers’ health and lives.”
Although the New Zealand workers who cut and shape the product and who are most exposed to this risk are not within the construction industry, most of the demand for engineered stone is driven from construction. It is therefore important that construction clients, designers and builders understand the risk and make informed choices as to what products are installed in new buildings and renovations.
Homeowners ordering new kitchens are unlikely to consider the possibility that workers could die as a result of cutting and polishing their new stone bench tops.
"Consumers need to be aware that their decision to purchase engineered stone bench tops has the potential to put the lives of workers at risk due to the silica dust produced when their stone benches are manufactured and prepared for installation. There are many other safer, comparable alternatives” says Alderson.
Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ) is a charitable trust dedicated to reducing harm in the New Zealand construction sector. Established in 2018, it comprises senior industry leaders from across all construction sectors, working together to improve the lives of construction workers by raising the standard of health and safety culture and performance across the construction industry in New Zealand. More information can be found here: https://www.chasnz.org/
For all media queries contact:
Chris Alderson, CEO