Safe Work Australia is expected to recommend that the regulated occupational exposure limits for respirable dust be slashed.
Exposure limits for toxic silica dust are currently sitting on 0.1 milligram per cubic metre over an eight-hour period – this could be halved when the recommendation is passed.
Dust suppression expert RST Solutions stated that solving dust-related issues over the past 30 years had been challenging, but the silver lining was companies were increasingly successful in complying with current limits for respirable dust.
RST Solutions uses crusting agents to coat fine particles to prevent them from being blown or washed away; foaming formulas to suppress dust at transfer points and crushing operations; and water additives to bind fine particles and stabilise the materials being mined.
“Fine particulate of varying material types in a dry state create numerous health, environmental and operational challenges for our clients,” RST Solutions operations and technical director David Handel said.
“We have been able to develop dust suppressants that are super concentrated and highly effective through ongoing research and development, with continual improvement programs and strategic alliances providing RST Solutions with the ability to develop leading edge solutions.
“It is about finding the best solution that is cost effective and achieves immediate and long-term results.”
The solutions could also promote significant reductions in water consumption, erosion mitigation and decreased operational costs.