NSW adamant to keep dust exposure low

Typical mining/quarrying /construction operating environments.

The New South Wales Resources Regulator has updated its key compliance priorities for the first half of 2021, while retaining respirable dust as one of its targets.

The regulator plans to manage hazardous chemicals, contractors communication and conveyors entanglement, while overseeing the revised exposure standards to respirable dust.

The regulator stated that the management of airborne contaminants had been a key focus area over recent years.

“With the implementation of the revised exposure standards for silica and respirable dust, and a new exposure standard for diesel exhaust emissions, airborne contaminants was a priority project between July and December in 2020 and will continue to be a focus area for the first half of 2021,” it stated in its compliance priorities January-June 2021 report.

“The focus for this period will be site assessment activities and follow-up on reported exceedances.”

The state’s inspectors will assess the effectiveness of dust controls and workers’ understanding of them, in addition to undertaking spot sampling to highlight high-risk areas on mine sites. This could be unannounced or occur on back shifts.

The regulator also stated that incidents where workers were entrapped around conveyor belt systems had occurred numerous times in coal mines.

“Recent inspections have identified issues with missing guards, guards lying adjacent to the conveyor after maintenance and guards not fixed properly in place,” it stated.

The regulator aims to make regulation transparent and promote confidence in how the mining and petroleum industry is regulated.