Charity says stone worktop ban ‘won’t save lives’

Stone Worktop Restoration Repair London

The British Occupational Hygiene Society is a scientific charity which promotes workplace health. Now it says the UK should not follow Australia’s example of banning engineered stone countertops. Instead, it insists it’s possible to ‘manage out’ the potential dangers of silicosis from quartz and so on.

Australia is the first country to ban the manufacture, supply and use of all engineered stone, from July. That’s due to the potential health hazards of silica dust, created when anyone cuts, polishes or shapes engineered stone. (Engineered stone is a composite material which consists of crushed stone and which an adhesive binds together to create a solid surface.)

What BOHS says

BOHS says that silicosis can be prevented with standard controls, such as water-based dust suppression. So the UK doesn’t need to ban engineered stone. And silicosis isn’t currently a reportable occupational disease.

Indeed, Lord Younger, a minister in the Department for Work & Pensions, told Parliament in January there were no plans for a UK ban. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations means employers already need measures to protect employees from exposure to crystalline silica.

This includes proper controls for compliance with limits for exposure at work and health surveillance to detect possible problems.

Prevention rather than banning

It’s true that some cases of silicosis are hard to identify accurately. And at least one UK kitchen fitter no longer works with this kind of stone. But medical surveillance and correct dust controls can prevent this illness

BOHS chief executive Kevin Bampton said: “Calls for a ban are not going to save lives. But education, proper workplace controls and awareness of the risks will.”

Not sure your controls are good enough? An occupational hygienist will be able to provide expert advice,

Talk to us

Royal Stone Care has worked with engineered stone for years without problems. But we agree with having preventative measures in place. Plus we appreciate the importance of being mindful of potential risks at all times.

We know all about dealing with both natural and engineered stone. So talk to us about marble repair, granite restoration and cleaning in London.