Preventing Occupational Dust Diseases

Supporting and protecting South Australia’s mine and quarry workers

Health Surveillance – Dust Monitoring

SAs industries have been directly supported from the first meeting of the Silicosis Scheme in 1938, the Silicosis Committee with management of toxic dusts.  This work has continued with the Mining and Quarrying Occupational Health and Safety Committee under the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act 1986 and is still retained in the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA). 

The mining, quarrying and associated industries are a valuable resource to our economy, stimulating our precious regional areas and provide employment opportunities throughout our State.  

The Mining and Quarrying Occupational Health and Safety Committee (MAQOHSC) is dedicated to protecting South Australian mine and quarry workers from Occupational Dust Related Diseases.  

MAQOHSC works in partnership with stakeholders and workers engaging directly in the workplace.  The MAQOHSC Health Surveillance Programs have included of Dust Monitoring for exposure and Workplace Health Assessments.

All exposure prevention strategies are detailed in the MAQOHSC strategic plan and include the development and funding of targeted projects, education programs. MAQOHSC aims to provide workforce resources that support the development of workplace hygiene management plans, industry best practice and provide guidance to achieve continuous improvement in all South Australian mines and quarries. 

The generation of airborne dust is a common occurrence associated with mining and quarrying activities. Most minerals when drilled, extracted from the ground or processed, generate silica dust which may be inhaled. Exposure to crystalline silica can cause respiratory illness and occupational dust related disease such as silicosis.  

Silicosis is a preventable disease, however, has no cure.  Silicosis can go undetected for many years as it usually has a long latency period.  Silicosis is the oldest and most common occupational respiratory lung disease worldwide.

MAQOHSC has provided monitoring, evaluating and reporting on dust generation activities within the mine and quarry environments, with a targeted focus to monitor workers personal respirable dust exposure levels.

The program has assesses workplace dust management strategies, workers respiratory protection and its fit to workers. Additionally MAQOHSC has previously included Enhanced Video Analysis of Dust Exposures (EVADE) to show mine and quarry workers exactly where they are being exposed to dust at work and therefore where an intervention can be effective. MAQOHSC  observes, assesses and reports on the health risks and the challenges of each workplace.  

MAQOHSC can provide assistance and support to stakeholders on the implementation of effective dust mitigation to eliminate dust at the source. Good risk control measures are the only way to prevent silicosis and reduce occupational dust exposure to workers in the workplace.  

MAQOHSC Work Health and Safety Specialists are available to facilitate workplace discussions or educational information sessions and provide advice and assistance. Contact us if you require further information.

Dust Resources for Industry 

Occupational Dust Management, Gap Analysis Tool and Dust Exposure Awareness

Available Resources: 

 

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The Committee proactively engage with workplaces to provide work health and safety support to South Australian mines and quarries.

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