Fashion retailer Just Group is joining global brands including Levi Strauss, Gucci, Benetton and Esprit in putting a stop to selling sandblasted jeans.

Its decision, revealed today (23 September), follows a campaign by aid agency Oxfam to ban the dangerous denim finishing technique which is known to cause silicosis - a pulmonary disease resulting from the inhalation of silica dust - putting workers' health at risk.

Just Group now says that once all remaining stock of sandblasted jeans has gone, it will not place any further orders for these products. The Just Group brands include Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Dotti, Portmans and Jacqui E.

Describing the move as "an important first step," Oxfam Australia's director of policy, James Ensor, says: "We will continue to encourage Just Group to implement the other five steps of the ban, in particular ensuring that workers who were exposed to sandblasting receive medical checks.

"We also encourage Just Group to improve transparency in its operations by publishing a list of its supplier factories. Without this transparency it is not possible to externally verify the conditions for workers making Just Group products."

A six-step ban on sandblasting is recommended by campaigners at the Fair Trade Centre and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC). This requires a published policy stating that sandblasting will not be used in the supply chain, and enforcement of this ban by monitoring processes in co-operation with trade unions and NGOs.

Firms also need to ensure that all workers at facilities sandblasting products are contacted and receive medical checks, and that anyone affected by silicosis receives medical care and financial compensation.

Workers who stand to lose their jobs because of the ban must be prioritised for re-hiring and re-training. And adequate risk assessments must be carried out when new production methods are introduced.