Reduce dust, achieve occupational exposure reduction targets

Safe to Work highlights Sy-Klone International’s cabin air quality and monitoring solutions for meeting ISO 23875 cabin air quality standard requirements, helping mines create a safer workplace and supporting exposure reduction goals.

Exposure to dust is one of the most common risks faced by mining employees and without the right dust mitigation solution, workers are at risk of chronic lung conditions that can severely impact quality of life.

Dust particles found in mining environments, such as coal dust, silica dust, asbestos fibres and other harmful respirable particulate can enter unprotected mobile heavy equipment and fixed plant cabins, and may be inhaled by workers.

Respirable dust and debris can cause long-term health conditions such as coal mine dust lung disease, silicosis, mixed dust pneumoconiosis, dust-related diffuse fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In June, Cancer Council Australia launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of exposure to silica dust to raise awareness for those working in high-risk industries. Long-term exposure to silica dust has the potential to cause fatal lung diseases. Occupations with the greatest risk of exposure include miners, construction workers, farmers and engineers.

Cancer Council Australia chief executive officer Tanya Buchanan says 600,000 Australians are exposed to silica dust in the workplace.

“Silica dust can be 100 times smaller than a grain of sand, meaning workers can breathe it in without even knowing,” she says.

“Over time this causes serious lung damage and can lead to lung cancer, silicosis, chronic pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.

“We want to make sure any Australians working in environments in which they may be exposed to silica dust are aware of both the health risks and the work health and safety processes they need to follow to protect themselves.”

A new industry standard – ISO 23875 cabin air quality standard – provides practical steps for mine sites to improve engineering controls and operational integration of machine cabins, in support of reducing occupational exposure and improving worker health.

ISO 23875 seeks to “address the fundamental design requirements that will allow for operator enclosures to perform at a level that provides sustained air quality, reducing concentrations of respirable particulate matter and carbon dioxide that are harmful to human health.”

ISO 23875 differs from other regulations as it is a lifecycle standard. It addresses cabin air control systems from the time of design, to when the equipment arrives onsite and throughout its operating life.

ISO 23875 outlines specific engineering requirements and performance testing to ensure compliance. ISO 23875 performance requirements include: 1. defined levels of CO2 within the cabin; 2. defined recirculation system efficiency; 3. increased filter efficiency requirements; 4. defined pressurisation levels; and 5. defined real-time monitoring requirements.

International Society of Environmental Enclosure Engineers board president and project lead for ISO 23875, Jeff Moredock, says global support for ISO 23875 has continued to increase since its publication in February 2021.

“Support in Europe has come as the CEN Technical Committee 196, which represents mining in the European Union, adopted the standard under the Vienna Agreement without change in June. It is now known as EN/ISO 23875,” he says.

“Further adoption has taken place in Colombia, South America, which has also adopted the standard as a national standard.”

Moredock went on to share that educational webinars in South Africa, South America, Canada, and Finland have been well attended by members of the industry’s health and safety community.

In addition to webinars, a new online training course has been created to fast track understanding and implementation of the standard.

“The International Society of Environmental Enclosure Engineers developed an online course with interactive modules on how to conduct performance testing and document compliance, including templates for the required operator’s manual, which can be found online at ISEEE.net.”

Sy-Klone International, a global provider of clean air solutions for industrial work sites, has observed an increase in requests for their products as mining companies and OEMs are seeking solutions to achieve ISO 23875-compliant cabins.

Austin Browne, Sy-Klone’s vice president of sales and marketing, shares that the company and its distribution partners are working closely with mine site operators to deliver ISO 23875 solutions, bringing both new and existing fleets of heavy mobile equipment into compliance and protecting machine operators by reducing exposure to harmful respirable dust and debris.

“Sy-Klone works directly with nine out of the top 10 largest international mining and construction equipment original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Our products have been thoroughly vetted by our OEM partners and third-party labs, ensuring the highest levels of performance and adherence to international standards.”

“Sy-Klone’s patented products are differentiated from other solutions by the way we handle air, precleaning the largest debris before ever reaching the filter, resulting in

extended filter life and increased operator air quality protection and machine uptime,” he says.

“Sy-Klone’s RESPA clean air solutions pressurise, preclean and filter air entering the cabin. Our fresh air and recirculated cabin air quality systems, high-efficiency filters, and real-time CO2 and pressure monitor equips companies with the tools needed to reduce exposure, improve operator air quality, and ultimately benefit the health of operators.”

In addition to supporting occupational health and safety (OH&S) programs, Sy-Klone’s RESPA clean air solutions result in increased uptime for machines.

Ensuring clean air intake allows for less frequent maintenance issues, such as prematurely replacing evaporator cores, as well as improved operational productivity measures, as machines stay in service longer and meet defined service intervals.

Offering the only integrated cabin air quality and monitoring products that meet both the air quality and monitoring engineering requirements outlined in ISO 23875, Sy-Klone is uniquely positioned to support mining companies in their pursuit of ISO 23875 adoption.

Sy-Klone’s range of ISO 23875-compliant products benefit mine operators by providing short-term safety controls, as well as supporting long-term health outcomes through reducing exposure to harmful dust and particulate. Improving air quality in heavy mobile equipment and fixed plant cabins reduces occupational exposure and can save lives.

This story also appears in the September issue of Safe to Work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *