Occupational Dust – Exposure and Management V4

Preventing Occupational Dust Diseases

Supporting and protecting South Australia’s mine and quarry workers

Funded Health Surveillance – Dust Monitoring

South Australia’s mines, quarries, the businesses that support them, the thousands of workers directly and indirectly employed in our valuable industries have been provided direct support during the previous 80 years. 

Our States wealthy and valuable industries have been directly supported from the first documented meeting of the Silicosis Scheme in 1938, the Silicosis Committee, the later established Mining and Quarrying Occupational Health and Safety Committee in the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act 1986 and retained in the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA). 

South Australian leaders possessed the foresight to maximise the resources within our State, this created a pathway to progressive growth that is enjoyed by all South Australians today. 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 are inclusive of Dust Monitoring, Workplace Health Assessments

All exposure prevention strategies are in alignment with the MAQOHSC strategic plan and include the development and funding of targeted projects, education programs and providing comprehensive dedicated management and workforce resources that support the importance of workplace hygiene management, industry best practice and provide guidance to achieve a demonstrated model of continuous improvement in all South Australian mines and quarries. 

The generation of dust particles are a common occurrence associated with mining and quarrying activities. Certain types of minerals when drilled, extracted from the ground or processed, generate dust particles which contain silica. Exposure to crystalline silica can cause respiratory illness and occupational dust related disease such as silicosis.  

Silicosis is a preventable disease, however, once diagnosed is incurable.  Silicosis can go undetected for many years as it can have a long latency period.  Silicosis is the oldest and most common occupational respiratory lung disease worldwide.

MAQOHSC is commencing its third year of a five year project inclusive of 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 evaluates current workplace dust management strategies, current workers respiratory protection as well as personal protective equipment and fitment of use. Additionally MAQOHSC has value added to the program to include Enhanced Video Analysis of Dust Exposures (EVADE) to show mine and quarry workers exactly where they are being exposed to hazards on the job, and therefore where an intervention can be effective. MAQOHSC undertakes this detailed method to observe, assess and report on the health risks and the challenges of each workplace.  

Detailed reporting identifies strategies that MAQOHSC can provide assistance and support to stakeholders on the implementation of effective dust mitigation to eliminate dust at the source, strategies and 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 assist industry 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: 

Additional resources including our full Workplace Health Management Manual are due for release January 2019.

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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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