Airborne dust particles can cause short-term impact on mining productivity and long-term impacts on workers’ health. Safe to Work speaks to Lyons Airconditioning Services about how it combines its Australian knowledge with Sy-Klone’s global reach to lead the way in dust control.
In their partnership, global company Sy-Klone and Perth-based Lyons Airconditioning Services are giving companies like Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group and Macmahon Holdings direction and consultation on dust control.
Lyons is ensuring that dust control measures used across Australian mines meet International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) regulations, ensuring safety for workers.
Dust particles found in mining environments, such as coal dust, silica dust, asbestos dust and odours can filter into the cabin and be breathed in by workers.
They can cause long-term health conditions like coal mine dust lung disease, silicosis, mixed dust pneumoconiosis, dust-related diffuse fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
With the introduction of new industrial manslaughter laws across Australia, the onus is on mining companies to take care of their employees’ health and wellbeing more than ever.
Lyons Airconditioning Services is guarding mine workers from these potential health risks, distributing Sy-Klone’s range of RadialSHIELD filters to block out nanoparticles and other harmful contaminants to keep them out of vehicles and workers out of harm’s way.
As Lyons general manager Emmanuel Lardis explains, the companies are united by their common goal to protect workers and set the benchmark for cabin filtration safety.
“By keeping containments and dangerous dust particles outside of the machine’s cab, Lyons is keeping the operator safe and making sure they get home from work safely that day and the next 20 to 30 years down the track,” Lardis tells Safe to Work.
“Sy-Klone’s and Lyons’ combined team of experts are able to formulate solutions to meet the latest international standards, including the new ISO standard, 23875.”
ISO 23875 covers safety in mining, with an emphasis on air quality control and how to implement effective air quality control systems, dilution of carbon dioxide (CO2) and routine testing of air throughout the cab.
As part of the range Lyons distributes, the Sy-Klone RadialSHIELD filters use high-tech filtration media, which captures biological nanoparticles of dust and other dangerous particles to stop them from causing harm.
Lyons not only distributes the Sy-Klone products, but also provides Australian mining clients with personalised feedback and instruction regarding their dust control measures.
“Lyons provides direction and expertise through our vast experience of more than 35 years in the mining industry,” Lardis says.
“In association with our partners, like Sy-Klone and associations and bodies that work in health and safety for cabin filtration, we can provide solutions that are fit for purpose for a particular site or the contaminant they are having issues with.”
Lyons was eager to partner with
Sy-Klone for its global reputation and the versatility of its range, with one system having the ability to suit multiple sites across a mining company’s portfolio.
“The reason we are moving towards the Sy-Klone range is that one system will suit multiple sites,” Lardis says.
“You install the pressuriser system and you can then interchange filter media, depending what contaminant you are trying to overcome. The Sy-Klone filtration method can be customised depending on site requirements to MERV 16, HEPA, carbon or a combination.”
Another attraction of the Sy-Klone range highlighted by Lyons is the ability to match the maintenance schedules of both Sy-Klone products and the machine, meaning less downtime.
“The Sy-Klone range also has scheduled maintenance every 500 hours, which matches with most vehicles’ maintenance service. If your filter can last until your next service, you don’t need to pull that machine out and shut it down at a different time and in mining, every hour a machine is out of work can cost hundreds of thousands in lost productivity,” Lardis says.
At the helm of Lyons is its team of experts, who often work remotely on site with mining companies, offering their advice on tackling contaminants that are known issues in the local area.
Lyons business development manager Ryan Wheeler, along with Lyons’ senior technicians, is an expert that visits client sites to complete audits on equipment and ensure they are sticking to industry standards.
“Lyons works closely with clients to advise them on the issues they are having on site so we can provide a solution for the operators inside the cabins,” Wheeler says.
“We regularly go to site, sometimes with Sy-Klone to undertake audits on the clients’ equipment and ensure they are sticking to the most up to date industry standards.
“A lot of mining companies have their own site standards and specification so by attending sites, Lyons and Sy-Klone are able to help them work towards achieving those goals with their equipment.”
Looking after workers’ health is Lyons’ top priority, but ensuring cleaner air also helps with productivity – a flow on effect from keeping workers healthy.
“For productivity, breathing in fresh air means lower CO2 intake by cabin operators,” Wheeler says.
“Part of cabin filtration is not just clean air but it’s also about having enough oxygen within the cabin. CO2 can cause drowsiness and endanger the driver and again, affect productivity.”
As Wheeler explains, monitoring air flow throughout the cabin is also an important part of good dust suppression practice.
“Part of good practice is having a monitoring system in place that measures air flow through the cabin, which also ensures there’s enough pressure built up to push any contaminants out, so they are not putting the driver in harm’s way,” he says.
“We strongly recommend on every install, cabins also have some kind of pressure monitoring system installed, because without it, you have no way of understanding what is happening and because it will advise positive pressure, keeping any airborne contaminants outside of the cab.”
With Lyons’ local knowledge, it is giving Australian mines Sy-Klone’s global reach and innovative products, all from its headquarters in Perth.
This feature also appears in the November edition of Safe to Work.