Managing diesel engine exhaust in underground mines

Monday, 19 August, 2019

Managing diesel engine exhaust in underground mines

New research has highlighted the importance of monitoring and controlling workplace diesel emissions. The research, commissioned by the Mining Industry Advisory Committee (MIAC) in 2016, looked at the physical and chemical properties of nano Diesel Particulate Matter (nDPM) in an underground mine and the potential health effects on exposed workers. Western Australia Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) Director of Mines Safety and MIAC Chair, Andrew Chaplyn, announced the research’s completion at an information session hosted by the DMIRS in July 2019.

“Diesel engine exhaust (DEE) is a known hazard for mining operations, especially in underground mines where widespread use of diesel vehicles and equipment means control at source and providing appropriate ventilation is critical to ensure worker health and safety,” Chaplyn said. “Now that the research has been finalised, MIAC will consider the findings and make recommendations to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Bill Johnston.” Chaplyn added that the research reinforced DMIRS’s guidelines on DEE, which outline ways mining operators can maintain safe and healthy work environments.

“[These include] focusing on the fuel and combustion efficiency of on-site diesel engines, implementation and maintenance of effective engine filtration systems, adopting good ventilation design standards and regular employee training to promote the importance of minimising emissions and controlling worker exposures,” he said. “DMIRS recommends mining operators consider technological advancements in monitoring nanoparticles and emerging epidemiological studies when developing their long-term management strategies.”

DMIRS Mines Inspectors will continue to conduct research aimed at evaluating underground working environments in order to minimise worker exposure to a range of potentially harmful agents, including DEE. “The diesel particulate research reinforces the importance of managing DEE and will assist mining operators [in developing] emission exposure controls and long-term health management strategies,” Chaplyn concluded.

More information on the research can be found here.

Image credit: © Bartussek

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