NSW quarries face inspection under worker dust risk blitz
New South Wales (NSW) quarries are currently being inspected without notice as part of a blitz on worker dust risks.
The three-week blitz, announced by the NSW Resources Regulator on 26 September, will determine whether quarry operators are identifying dust risks and putting appropriate controls in place to protect workers, according to NSW Resources Regulator Chief Inspector of Mines Garvin Burns.
“Dust diseases, such as silicosis, are preventable and require appropriate dust controls, atmospheric monitoring and worker health monitoring.
“We know quarries by their very nature can be dusty places to work and this compliance campaign will be directly testing to see if quarry operators have appropriate controls in place to protect the health of their workers from this risk.
“Operators need to ensure that they are not simply relying on personal protective equipment and have taken other active measures to eliminate or reduce dust exposure risks.
“[Inspectors] will carry out sampling of inhalable dust and then examine what actions quarry operators have taken where excessive dust is identified, including notifying those exceedances to the regulator.
“Where inspectors form the view that workers may be exposed to serious risk due to a lack of effective risk controls for inhalable dust, appropriate compliance action will be taken to protect the safety of those workers,” Burns said.
Compliance action will also be considered where it is identified quarry operators have failed to report exceedances, or that exceedances have not been reported within the time frame specified by legislation.
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