Summarising significant developments on asbestos and silica from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations  10 May 2024 COMMUNIQUÉ on the Meeting of Work Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation Ministers (Work Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation Ministers’ Meeting – 10 May 2024 – Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Australian Government (


National Silica Regulations 

Engineered Stone:

  • The prohibition on the use of engineered stone commences on 1 July 2024 with some jurisdictions providing a transition period allowing engineered stone work to continue until 31 December 2024 subject to existing controls.
  • There will be a notification framework and regulated exemption process to ensure safe removal, disposal, repair or minor modifications of legacy engineered stone.

A review of the prohibition is to be completed by 31 July 2025. Safe Work Australia will be publishing  further guidance to assist businesses and workers understand and comply with the obligations Interested AIOH members may want to subscribe to SWA updates from here Subscribe | Safe Work Australia.

Regulation of other substances containing crystalline silica at 1% or more:

  • WHS ministers agreed to a significant amendment to the model WHS Regulations regulating all crystalline silica processes across all industries, from 1 September 2024. These will apply to crystalline silica processes in industries such as tunneling and quarrying.
  • Uncontrolled processing of crystalline silica substances will be prohibited and similar o the Victorian provisions high risk crystalline silica processes must be identified and controlled, silica So we will shortly have national requirements for air and health monitoring with the additional requirement to report exceedances of the current workplace exposure standard (WES)  for respirable crystalline silica to the relevant WHS regulator.

Three definitions important to AIOH members advising on health risk associated with RCS:

  • A “crystalline silica substance definition as a material containing at least 1% crystalline silica.
  • A “crystalline silica process defined as any of the following activities involving a crystalline silica substance, or a process that exposes a person to crystalline silica dust while handling a crystalline silica substance:
    • Use of power tools / machinery.
    • Road headers.
    • Quarrying
    • Mechanical screening.
    • Tunnelling


  • “High risk silica process defined as “a crystalline silica process reasonably likely to result in a risk to the health of a person at the workplace” with “high risk” determined by a risk assessment. In the absence of a risk assessment, the process is assumed to be a high risk silica process.Where a high risk silica process is undertaken, the following will be required:
    • A silica risk control plan.
    • Controlled processing.
    • Reporting of WEL exceedances to the regulator.
    • Air monitoring.
    • Health monitoring.
    • Worker training.

Asbestos Strategic Plan 

Key items from the National Strategic Plan released in the Communique:

Where AIOH can assist

As industry experts in workplace exposure risk assessment and the prevention of occupational disease, the AIOH has a wealth of in-house expertise and resources to guide members, employers, workers and the public through this transition. You can find guidance and resources on our website Publications & Papers – AIOH.

If you are a generalist or specialist in occupational health, you can learn more about the practice of occupational hygiene and how to assess and measure the potential for exposures from our Certified Occupational Hygienists and trainers, there are training course and events that can help prepare you for these changes. The Basic Principles of Occupational Hygiene course can prepare you for the changes in workplaces dealing with silica or asbestos (see Events – AIOH).


Additional References

AIOH Work Exposure Standards Videos

Engineered stone ban | Safe Work Australia