Quarry and surface mining processes have the potential to generate large quantities of inhalable and respirable dust. Heavy mobile equipment operator cabins are normally enclosed and are a common control measure used in surface mines and quarries to protect workers from dust exposure.

While this can help to isolate operators from dust, it may leave them more vulnerable to the risks associated with respirable dust if the cabins are not properly equipped and maintained. GRT implements quarry and surface mining dust control at its source as both preventative and corrective measures using the following products:

These dust control solutions deal with fugitive dust at its source and prevent dust from affecting the cabin integrity in quarry and surface mines.  

In this short article, we evaluate cabin integrity in quarry and surface mining from what GRT can do for you, the basic checks for cabin integrity and hygiene and housekeeping you can do to help in achieving effective dust control at the source of the dust. 

Stopping dust at the source – what can GRT do for you?

Quarries and mines are usually long-term operations and often serve the needs of their community for many years. Partnering with GRT provides you with a reliable dust control solutions partner that walks with you along the journey of dealing with dust generated from different quarry operations which compromise cabin integrity. If dust is not dealt with, the resulting effects pose serious and fatal respiratory health problems to cabin operators. The concentrated dust increases the likelihood of succumbing to dust-related diseases such as silicosis, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) increases.

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?

It is imperative to deal with dust at its source as a preventative measure to avoid dust particles from travelling from their source to the cabin. If that takes place, the option left is to take corrective dust control steps which are secondary to the preventative measures. It is always wise to prevent and minimize the exposure to dust in the cabin. GRT offers technical dust control solutions for the following problematic areas:

  • Stockpiles.
  • Haul roads.
  • Transportation.
  • Drill and blast.
  • Loading and unloading.
  • Crushing and screening. 
  • Conveyor and transfer points. 

What are the basic checks for cabin integrity?

Cabin integrity is an important part of a holistic, integrated dust control plan for any site. For the enclosed cabin to remain an effective form of protection, integrity of the space must be maintained. It is important that:

  • Seals are effective, by regular inspection and maintenance to keep them clean and clear of dust build up.
  • Cabins are positively pressurized to prevent dust entering the cabin.
  • High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are fitted to air intakes.
  • Air conditioning filters are checked and replaced regularly.
  • Cabin and associated equipment are on a preventative and maintenance plan. 

Hygiene and housekeeping – what you can do?

If you are using plant equipment with enclosed cabins, there are things you can do to keep yourself protected from exposure to respirable silica dust and preserve and maintain cabin integrity: 

Look after yourself:

  • Being clean shaven (for mask fitting).
  • Change clothes and shoes at the end of your shift.
  • Use additional personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Washing your hands and face thoroughly and regularly. 
  • Don’t wear dust clothing in your vehicle to drive home.
  • Change or cleaning clothing regularly to avoid contaminating workplace.
  • Taking care when cleaning clothing and uniforms to avoid dispersing dust.
  • Keep respiratory protective equipment (RPE) clean and in good working order. 

In the cabin:

  • Keep doors and windows clean. 
  • Avoid disturbing dried mud and dust in treads and openings. 
  • Keep doors and windows shut, whether equipment is being used or not.
  • Don’t use dry brush/broom or compressed air to avoid generating airborne dust.
  • Clean the cabin regularly using H-Class HEPA vacuum or wet cleaning methods.
  • Avoid getting into enclosed cabins with shoes and clothing that have mud and dust.  

In conclusion

Australian quarries support vital building and construction industries that generate over $160 billion in revenue each and directly employ more than one million Australians. The quarry industry creates over 10,000 jobs directly and supports another 80,000 indirectly, often in rural and regional locations. Given these statistics, exposure to inhalable and respirable dusts increases the potential of respiratory health problems to quarry workers and their families. Hence, maintaining cabin integrity through dust control at its source is the most effective way of dealing with dust to prevent occupational and non-occupational exposure to hazardous dust. Speak to Daniel Grundy and let him assist you in all your dust control requirements. 

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The Institute of Quarrying Australia Fact Sheets. Retrieved 08/10/21.