State wide blitz on worker dust risks at quarries

Resources Regulator Chief Inspector of Mines Garvin Burns said quarries across the state could expect to see teams of inspectors turning up at the front gate for inspections without notice.

“Over the next three weeks Resources Regulator inspectors will be going to quarries throughout the state as part of a targeted intervention program to examine how operators are managing dust risks,” Mr Burns said.

“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.

“Our inspectors will look at whether quarry operators are identifying dust risks and putting in place subsequent controls to protect workers. 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.”

“They 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,” Garvin 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 timeframe specified by legislation.

Reference: NSW Resources Regulator

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