Caesarstone® Health & Safety

Caesarstone quartz surfaces are in millions of homes around the world, and requires the strictest standards of cleanliness and sterility.


Caesarstone® Health & Safety


Overview

As the world’s leading global quartz surface developer and manufacturer, we at Caesarstone view the existence of a safe working environment for all employees, free of hazards and in compliance with all local laws, alongside the safety of all installed products, with foremost importance.

In summary, they key points are:

  • We can assure you that Caesarstone surfaces installed in the home are absolutely not harmful to the consumer. They are completely safe.

  • The health risk lies in the processing procedure, if performed not in accordance with safe legal requirements, and not in the surfaces themselves.

  • Exposure to crystalline silica dust and the related risks that may result from such exposure can be reduced and controlled if the proper safety measures are implemented.

  • In the ten years since Caesarstone Australia began operations in Australia, we have provided the independent stonemason industry information about the safety measures required to be implemented when working in a silica dust environment.

  • Caesarstone will continue to actively promote and educate safe handling of our products by stonemasons. The health and safety of workers in the industry is paramount.

  • Caesarstone is a founding member of the NSW Government Taskforce as well as a member of the Queensland Government Code of Practice working groups to review and improve the industry’s safety standards and regulations.

  • State Governments have expressed a desire to develop a code of practice for industry and regulations that explicitly prohibit uncontrolled dry cutting of engineered stone and we are actively involved in providing input on these proposals. We welcome these initiatives and note that Caesarstone’s own recommended safety standards have long urged stonemasons to use wet-cutting and proper respiratory protection.

 

Below are answers to some of the most common questions:


 

Caesarstone Safety

We can assure you that Caesarstone surfaces installed in the home are absolutely not harmful to the consumer.

Caesarstone quartz surfaces are completely safe for domestic use and comply with the strictest local and international safety standards for consumer use.

Caesarstone quartz surfaces are in use today in many environments that require the strictest standards of cleanliness and sterility and in millions of homes around the world.

The health risk lies in the processing procedure, if performed not in accordance with safety legal requirements, and not in the surfaces themselves.

A small amount of silica dust could be produced during installation or repair of Caesarstone quartz surfaces in the end user's home. This poses no health threat to the end user such as silicosis and other fatal diseases caused by silica dust, which are developed only as a result of ongoing occupational exposure to silica dust. Silicosis is purely an occupational disease.


Caesarstone always complies and collaborates with regulatory organizations to ensure that our countertops meet with strict international safety standards for consumer use – whether for admiring or eating. Our countertops are approved by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) for contact with food and bear other strict certificates and accreditations of regulatory and safety standards bodies including Greenguard (which ensures that a product has met some of the world's most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into indoor air).

Caesarstone quartz surfaces maintain the most stringent industry standards for health and environment, as listed below, and presented on the Caesarstone web site.

  • Caesarstone products are compliant with the National Sanitation Foundation International standard, ensuring that our working surfaces are safe for use in all food environments. 

  • Caesarstone quartz surfaces comply with ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001. 

  • Caesarstone is a registered member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). 

  • Caesarstone surfaces comply with the American GEI (GREENGUARD Environmental Institute) certification, which primarily verifies that Caesarstone's products meet the most stringent air emission standards. 

  • Caesarstone surfaces are kosher due to their low porosity.

 
 

Guide to Quartz, Silica and Silicolosis

Caesarstone quartz surfaces (often referred to as engineered stone) are an advanced solution for kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities flooring, wall cladding and other internal applications. They are manufactured from approximately 90% quartz and high-quality polymer resins and pigments.

Caesarstone quartz surfaces are in use today in millions of homes around the world and in many environments that require the strictest standards of cleanliness and sterility, including the Starbucks Coffee chain in the US and the McDonald's chain in Australia. 


Silica is one of the most common compounds on earth. Silica is composed of two elements: silicon and oxygen (silicon dioxide, SiO2).

Caesarstone surfaces are made of minerals that include crystalline silica, such as silica sand and quartz.

Crystalline Silica is one of the most common compounds on earth and can be found in nature in various forms, mainly as sand, and also as rocks and stones such as marble, granite, quartz and cristobalite.

Crystalline Silica is a component of many manufactured products in daily use, such as glass, pottery and quartz surfaces.

Silica is very commonly used in construction and at various concentrations in bricks, blocks, tiles, slabs, cement and concrete.


It is important to point out that silica dust is found in many products in our day-to-day lives such as glass, ceramics, semi-conductors and much more.

Working with crystalline silica (quartz) is found in numerous industries including:

  • Underground mining, tunnelling and excavation work
  • Extraction and cutting of quartzite, gneiss, granite, sandstone and slate
  • Foundries
  • Glass manufacturing plants
  • Brick making
  • Manufacture of glass, pottery, porcelain, bricks, ceramic tiles, pavers
  • Underground mining, tunnelling and excavation work
  • Road building
  • Building construction
  • Demolition work where potential sites of silica exist e.g. breaking up concrete
  • Explosive blasting work

Silicosis is an occupational lung disease that is incurable, progressively disabling and sometimes fatal. Silica dust particles become trapped in lung tissue, causing inflammation and scarring, reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. Safety measures such as wet cutting and the use of effective respiratory protection measures reduce the risks associated with inhaled dust and can prevent the disease. The finished Caesarstone product poses no health hazard.

As a result, unprotected and uncontrolled occupational exposure and inhalation of respirable crystalline silica particles without the protective health and safety measures required by law, is dangerous to health and may cause severe illnesses such as silicosis, which is characterized by fibrosis of the lungs. Silicosis is a chronic, incurable, progressive disease, which may cause severe physical disabilities and may be fatal. According to the US OSHA alert of February 2015, exposure to airborne crystalline silica increases the risk for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney disease, and according to certain medical schools of thought, also increases the risk for some auto-immune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis). Pre-existing physical disorders may also aggravate the adverse effects of exposure to silica dust.

Silicosis is an occupational disease, known for over a century, which may affect workers in the stone fabrication industry if they process marble, granite, quartz surfaces and other natural stones without safety measures. In the quartz surfaces industry, this disease may affect the Fabrication Process workers themselves, and any other person who is present at the Fabrication Process facilities (where there is silica dust) on a regular basis.

 
 

Silicon Dust Hazard Control

Yes. Exposure to crystalline silica dust and the related risks that may result from such exposure can be reduced and controlled if the proper safety measures are implemented. These measures include, among others, installing proper engineering controls (ventilation and filtration), working with CNC machines and water-injected tools, and using appropriate respiratory protection.

You must assess and ensure that occupational exposure to airborne crystalline silica dust is below the Permissible Exposure Limits established by your local authority and regulations. Always apply your local laws and regulations regarding working in environments containing harmful dust.

In order to control and reduce/eliminate the health risks associated with crystalline silica, we recommend that a Silica Control Programme be implemented in the workplace in accordance with all the applicable laws, regulations, orders and directives. This programme should be reviewed on a regular basis.

It is important to note that the exposure and personal protection precautions are only necessary for the fabrication of Caesarstone products (cutting, sawing, polishing etc.), due to the dust that may be generated in the process, and not from the Caesarstone slab as a product.

The employer is responsible for providing his workers with all the information, tools and safety measures required in order to protect them from the dangers of exposure to silica dust. The workers are responsible for fully implementing the safety instructions. Access to the work area should be restricted to authorized employees only. By a joint effort of the employer and workers, the workplace can become a healthy environment for everyone.

For complete documentation, please download the Caesarstone Fabrication and Health Manual


If you work with silica and the fabrication of engineered quartz surfaces, please download and read the following guide:
Caesarstone Fabrication & Health Protection Guide. 

The objectives of this Guide are to:

  • Reiterate the information about the well-known risks and health hazards during working in an environment where respirable crystalline silica dust is created; and

  • Remind you of certain information to assist in reducing workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust, including information on the safe use of products containing crystalline silica in the workplace and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that can be used, if necessary.

Furthermore, the instructions in this Guide are addressed to employers and workers who fabricate Caesarstone slabs and derived products in order to help them control their exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust.

It is important to note that the information provided in this Guide does not replace and/or specify all your local laws and regulations, which you must comply with and, therefore, you are required to be familiar with and adhere to all your local laws and regulations and consult with occupational health and safety professionals.

 
 

Caesarstone Industry Support

In the ten years since Caesarstone Australia began operations in Australia, we have provided the independent stonemason industry information about the safety measures required to be implemented when working in a silica dust environment.

Initiatives include:

  • Every stonemason customer has been provided with comprehensive instructions via the Caesarstone Fabrication & Health Protection Guide and the Safety Data Sheets.

  • The full 104 page guide is available to download throughout this site, with the Health & Safety information contained on pages 82-92.

  • Caesarstone supplies each individual slab to stonemasons with the relevant warnings, health and safety information prior to fabrication and installation. 

  • Conducted a series of workshops along the east coast of Australia, inviting a wide range of stonemasons to attend to receive training and updates on safe working practices.

  • Caesarstone staff regularly visit customer work sites & respond to any queries on health and safety.

  • All invoices issued contain relevant safety information.


Caesarstone is a founding member of the NSW Government Taskforce and the Queensland Government Code of Practice working group. Caesarstone continues to engage with Government Workcover agencies, unions, occupational physicians and the Thoracic Society, industry associations and State Health Departments, to ensure there is ongoing awareness of adequate safety standards and the importance of workplace monitoring.

Caesarstone will continue to actively promote and educate safe handling of our products by stonemasons by implementing the following plans moving forward:

  • Further reviewing and communicating our Fabrication & Health Protection Guide
  • Forming an industry advisory group to ensure the industry is working closely together on the issue
  • Developing a dedicated stonemason information website, including safety videos, to enhance the communication with stonemasons
  • Developing an occupational and medical referral list for customers
  • Providing customers with Government regulations and guidelines (Federally and for each State)
  • Increasing and improving customer communications via regular EDMs
  • Conducting further training sessions to stonemasons about health & safety procedures
  • Creating extra safety signage for customer work sites

State Governments have expressed a desire to develop a code of practice for industry and regulations that explicitly prohibit uncontrolled dry cutting of engineered stone and we are actively involved in providing input on that proposal. We welcome these initiatives and note that Caesarstone’s own recommended safety standards have long urged stonemasons to use wet-cutting and proper respiratory protection.


Every Caesarstone production line employee receives comprehensive training regarding the safe handling of our products. In addition, safety guidelines are posted clearly throughout our manufacturing facilities. There are no production facilities in Australia as slabs are imported to this country. However, we train our sales staff who visit customer work sites and issue them with safety equipment for use when entering areas where the product is being fabricated.

 
 

Caesarstone Fabrication & Health Protection Guide

 


 

Safework NSW has also produced a video that discusses how to work safely with crystalline silica:

Source:  https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/hazards-a-z/hazardous-chemical/popover-content/crystalline-silica