Both Western Australian and New South Wales mining regulators have regulated the exposure standard for diesel particulate matter (DPM) as 0.1 milligrams per cubic metre – an eight-hour time weighted average.
Companies are required to monitor the concentration of air contaminants in line with the legislation and notify the regulator should an exceedance occur.
High use of diesel engines within areas with dead ends or poor ventilation including development of new mines declines can result in high concentrations of vehicle emissions.
Check whether your DPM management plan is in place.
- Identify miners exposed to diesel exhaust. Conduct risk assessments to determine potential risk.
- Conduct personal DPM air monitoring to determine compliance with the DPM exposure standard and ensure compliance with the legislation.
- Communicate results to miners and discuss at the site health and safety committee meetings.
- Implement use of DPM exhaust filters on vehicles to reduce particulate emissions.
- Ensure there is sufficient ventilation in work areas to ensure good dilution of engine exhaust and to satisfy statutory requirements.
- Conduct emissions-based maintenance after measuring exhaust emissions in addition to OEM required maintenance.
- Use diesel tag boards and tag system to limit the number of vehicles present within workings. Diesel tag boards can be used as a visual aid to show the amount of air available and the amount of air required for diesel equipment to enter areas. This is based on equipment exhaust calculations and the statutory airflow requirements.
- Minimise work in closed headings/work areas to reduce accumulation of exhaust and diesel exhaust exposure to miners.
- Development of new mines need to be planned and managed where the ventilation system is still being constructed to prevent build-up of DPM with all the vehicle movement.
- Use only appropriate respiratory protective equipment (RPE) with a properly implemented RPE program including fit-testing, training, clean shaven policy and maintenance.
- Maintain records of instruction, risk assessments, training and air monitoring results.
- Review the DPM Management program to ensure it is delivering the right protection for miners and DPM exposures are being minimised.