Silicosis is one of the three most important occupationally-related dust diseases in Australia. Analysis* confirmed over 1,000 pneumoconiosis-related fatalities occurred during 1979 to 2002, 56% of which were caused by asbestosis, 38% by silicosis and 6% by Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis (CWP).
This week in the US, it was reported** that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced plans to update its 40-year-old standards (see video clip below) with aims to lower worker exposure to crystalline silica, which can come from granite, limestone and other aggregates.
Exposure to the tiny particles (each one is about 100 times smaller than a grain of sand) can cause Silicosis, an incurable and progressive disease. Inhaling the particles can also lead to lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.
Workers at risk of exposure to silica are those involved in cutting, sawing, drilling and crushing concrete, brick, block and other stone products and in operations using sand products, such as in glass manufacturing, foundries and sand blasting, (according to the OSHA).
Coincidentally then, amid growing community concerns over the potential health impacts dust generated by mining activities has, the environmental watchdog the NSW department of the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) has launched the next stage of its dust management agenda. The Dust Stop Program enforces new standards on dust control, aiming to achieve an 80 per cent dust reduction by August 2014.
Now in its third stage of implementation, the program requires all 30 of NSW open cut coal mines to assess their dust control plans. Loading, dumping and moving overburden is also a major source of dust emissions at coal mines.
In windy and dry conditions dust is more likely to leave mine sites, so tighter control is needed at these times. Mines might find that they may need to change their operating practices in order to meet these new standards.
Kinder & Co has a range of dust suppression products including:
K-Snap-Loc Dust Seal System
K-Sure Belt Support System
K-Fold-N-Seal Skirting Seal
K-Dust Enclosure Components
Conveyor Hoods and Covers
Contact one of our sales engineers to discuss how we can help improve your dust emissions and worker related OHS standards around your conveyors and bulk materials handling systems on 03 9587 9244 or email [email protected]
To request a copy of our full Product Guide click here
*source: Smith, and Leggat, (2006) 24 years of pneumoconiosis mortality surveillance in Australia. Journal of Occupational Health, 48 (5). pp. 309-313
**source: Aggregates Manager, 10 September 2013.