An unnamed state has been accused of holding up a national ban on deadly engineered stone as NSW says it will consider going it alone to outlaw the products.
States and the federal government have been unable to reach a consensus despite the national work safety watchdog saying a ban was needed to stop thousands more workers developing incurable diseases and cancers.
While dubbing silica-based stone "asbestos mark two" and saying it was killing workers, NSW Work Health and Safety Minister Sophie Cotsis on Tuesday rejected calls to introduce a ban to state parliament this month.
But NSW would consider its own laws if consensus was not reached between states at the next meeting on December 13, she said.
"It's important we get it right at a national level," Ms Cotsis told a NSW parliamentary hearing on Wednesday.
She said the release of the damning Safe Work Australia report was delayed two months until October 27 because of "a holdout state".
"We've put forward our position, that report is damning and compelling,'' she said.
"There's no ... scientific evidence to say any percentage is good."
Engineered stone is typically used to make kitchen and bathroom benches, with more than 600,000 workers exposed to it across sectors such as mining, building and construction, tunnelling and manufacturing.
Unions have been ramping up pressure on governments to outlaw silica-based stone, threatening to enforce their own bans on worksites if laws were not changed.
They cite the threat of silicosis, an incurable, debilitating and potentially fatal disease similar to that caused by inhaling asbestos dust.
Ms Cotsis agreed with Greens MP Abigail Boyd that more people would die while NSW waited for other states to agree on a single approach.
But she did not want the issue dragging out for decades as occurred with asbestos.
Premier Chris Minns has previously said NSW was prepared to go it alone if states didn't reach an agreement on October 27.
Ms Cotsis suggested a national agreement was achievable given a "very strong mood" for change among states and territories.
"I don't want to put the blame on any particular state or what have you," she said.
"We have a very collegiate approach with all the states and territories, I think we're all on one page."
In the interim, the government had started a silica register, increased compliance monitoring and was offering CT scans for former and current stonemasons, including Legalise Cannabis MP Jeremy Buckingham.
Uncontrolled cutting, grinding, drilling and polishing or the production of high levels of silica dust is banned in NSW.
SafeWork NSW said it had found businesses were increasingly complying with those laws but breaches, particularly among small businesses, were continuing.
Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said bans were in the hands of states and territories through updates to work and safety laws and has pledged to work towards a co-operative national response.
Australian Associated Press