What is Handle Stones with Care

Handle Stones with Care is a voluntary initiative put forward by manufacturers of engineered stone to promote guidelines and best practices to protect workers from exposure to respiratory crystalline silica. Exposure can occur during the fabrication and installation processes of all stone products, including engineered stone, when adequate safety measures are not in place.

The industry has acknowledged the concerns associated with respirable crystalline silica, which can lead to diseases such as silicosis. For this reason, the industry is putting forward guidelines and best practices to help employers guarantee a safe workplace and minimize the risks of exposure to silica dust. However, the guidelines are not meant to replace regulations, but rather they to complement existing standards and support employers to comply with them.

While meant to be used in the engineered stone industry, these best practices are applicable to all kind of stone fabrication industries, whereby the risk of exposure to respirable crystalline silica represents a concern.

What guidelines are we putting forward

With the Handle Stones with Care initiative, the industry is putting forward three guidelines – task sheets covering three essential aspects to improve workers protection and promote a healthy, risk-free environment. Their objective is to provide guidance for work procedures, protective equipment and equipment dedicated to reducing the level of respirable crystalline silica when cutting, grinding or polishing stone surfaces. These guidelines refer to:

  • The use of water-integrated machinery and tools at the stone fabrication plant;
  • The safe installation of countertops;
  • The correct use of respiratory protective equipment for the slab industry.

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