August 5, 2021 | Susan Napier-Sewell

How far away is death? Dust can be a killer in the mine sector

dust prevention how far away is death?

Disease prevention driving new government guidelines on dust control in Australia.

Global Road Technology (GRT), a world leader in innovative dust suppression technology, welcomes the recent clampdown by state governments across Australia on airborne pollution generated from mining activity. The firm continues to advocate for more proactive methods of dust suppression to protect workers and the community.

For GRT General Manager, Daniel Grundy, this renewed impetus on reducing dust pollution is welcome and sees it as a call to arms for the entire mining sector.

“At GRT we are committed to improving worker safety at mine-sites across the country and see these legislative changes as a wake-up call for the sector,” said Mr Grundy.

“Inadequate and ineffective dust control measures around mining activities are the key contributor to the increase in the frequency of black lung disease and silicosis among mine workers, and it’s critical that we work together as an industry to address this through a more holistic approach to managing the airborne pollution caused by mining activity. Tightening the occupational exposure limits (OEL’s) and workplace exposure standards (WES) for coal and silica dust caused by mining operations is the first step in a long journey the industry needs to embark on as we aim to put the safety of workers and the community front and centre – requiring a rethink on how we approach dust suppression across the country.”

Queensland has decided to move ahead and adopt these standards now, with most of the other states and territories planning to implement these prior to the deadline.

Some of the issues lie with the fact that miners still often rely heavily on traditional water-based methods or non-sustainable chemicals to mitigate the generation of coal, silica, and other hazardous dust, which are often ineffective and detrimental to the environment.

Source: Australian Mine Safety Journal (AMSJ), “Disease prevention driving new government guidelines on dust control.”

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