What is the RCS Accreditation Programme?
The New Zealand Engineered Stone Advisory Group (NZESAG) was established in July 2019 by New Zealand’s leading importers/suppliers of engineered stone/quartz surfaces. The Group’s objective is to respond to the occupational health risk to workers of accelerated silicosis when fabricating, manufacturing, or installing engineered stone products.
In 2020, the NZESAG partnered with Impac Services Ltd (IMPAC) to establish and implement the Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) Accreditation Programme to reduce the risk of silicosis across the engineered stone fabrication sector in New Zealand. The RCS Accreditation Programme has been supported by NZESAG members and ACC, and its audit process successfully piloted with a sample of fabricators.
The RCS Accreditation Programme was launched at a series of Roadshows in February 2021 and it is intended that all fabricators will undertake an initial accreditation audit within 12 months.
As part of the Accreditation Programme and on behalf of NZESAG, a Good Practice Guide for the Control of Respirable Crystalline Silica in the Fabrication of Engineered Stone has been coordinated by work health and safety experts, Impac Services Ltd (IMPAC).
The Good Practice Guide sets out the minimum steps required and a risk management process to manage the health risks associated with RCS from working with engineered stone products.
To obtain accreditation, Fabricators must comply with the requirements set out in the Good Practice Guide. This is checked by an audit of the Fabricator’s manufacturing facility, and their processes to identify and manage RCS exposure risk.
On the completion of the audit one of three levels of accreditation are able to be issued to a Fabricator under the programme as follows:
PARTICIPANT Level 1
Has engaged in the Accreditation Programme but does not meet significant elements of the Good Practice Guide. Has committed to implementing recommended improvements which will be checked at next audit.
SILVER - Level 2 Interim Accreditation
Has engaged in the Accreditation Programme and has met significant elements of the Good Practice Guide in practice and/or intent. Has committed to implementing recommended improvements which will be checked at next audit.
GOLD - Level 3 Accredited Fabricator
Meets all core requirements of this Good Practice Guide as set out in the Accreditation Audit.
Once the level of conformance with programme requirements is confirmed by IMPAC a Certificate detailing the level of accreditation will be issued.
Accreditation will be valid for 12 months from the date of issue of the Certificate and must be renewed annually.
For those Fabricators issued Participant or Silver level accreditation, improvement in line with audit recommendations must be made to remain within the Accreditation Programme.
Keen to know more?
Contact us at RCSAccreditation@IMPAC.co.nz or 0800 246 722