Bunnings cuts stone benches
Bunnings has announced plans to cease the sale of engineered stone by the end of the year.
The retail giant has fallen in line with calls for a complete ban on the product by unions and Safe Work Australia.
The decision follows a recent report by Safe Work Australia, which advocated for a blanket prohibition on engineered stone due to the associated health risks for workers.
The move by Bunnings is part of a broader industry trend, with IKEA Australia also declaring its intention to phase out engineered stone benchtops.
Bunnings will discontinue its range of engineered stone by December 31, and IKEA is set to follow suit.
Bunnings says the decision was influenced by the Safe Work Australia report and was made in collaboration with suppliers, allowing suppliers and customers time to adjust to the upcoming transition.
The CFMEU had previously threatened its own ban on members working with engineered stone if regulatory action was not taken.
The push for a ban stems from health concerns related to silicosis, a respiratory disease caused by inhaling fine silica dust released during the cutting of engineered stone.
The recent Safe Work Australia report found there is no scientifically determined “safe” threshold for crystalline silica content in engineered stone, leading to the conclusion that a complete ban is the only effective solution to the deaths and injuries caused by the product.
Following the report’s release, National Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said state and federal governments would convene to discuss the necessary next steps.