Safe Work Australia and EY are undertaking economic analysis and stakeholder consultation to support the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) of regulatory and non-regulatory options to manage risks associated with respirable crystalline silica (RCS) exposure in Australian workplaces. The principles of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012 – 2022 are underpinned by two key principles. Firstly, all workers, regardless of their occupation or how they are engaged, have the right to a healthy and safe working environment. Secondly, well-designed, healthy, and safe workplaces will allow workers in Australia to have more productive work lives. This is consistent with the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is reflected in the duties of care established in all Australian work health and safety legislation. Managing RCS in Australia affects many industries and analysis of regulations is key in improving both regulatory and non-regulatory options available to deal with RCS. In this article, Global Road Technology takes a closer look at managing RCS in Australia with a focus on the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022, why managing RCS is important, the measures used to manage RCS, and GRT’s product portfolio for RCS management. 

Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022

The Australian Strategy builds on the National Occupational Health and Safety Strategy 2002-2012. The Australian Strategy has seven national Action Areas:

  • Healthy and safe by design 
  • Supply chains and networks 
  • Health and safety capabilities 
  • Leadership and culture 
  • Research and evaluation 
  • Government 
  • Responsive and effective regulatory framework 

Why is managing RCS in Australia important? 

The reasons why the national Action areas were chosen in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-12 gives a great basis for answering the question. The importance of managing RCS in Australia is because:

  • Prevention activities should be directed to where there is the greatest potential for reducing harm.
  • Hazards and risks are most effectively controlled at the source.
  • Prevention efforts should focus on eliminating or minimizing exposure to serious hazards and risks and progressively improving controls. If elimination is not practical then risks need to be minimized according to the hierarchy of control.
  • Where a hazard exists but the level of risk is not certain, the risk should be assumed to be high and managed accordingly until the actual level of risk is known.
  • Creating healthy and safe work requires that jobs and tasks be designed to accommodate the abilities, diversity, and vulnerabilities of workers, including those returning to work following injury or illness. 
  • Continued improvement in work health and safety requires ongoing collaboration and cooperation between all parties. 
  • Workers have the right to be genuinely consulted in all matters relating to their work health and safety.
  • Organization leaders influence work health and safety through their management, education, and procurement practices.
  • Work health and safety improvements are best achieved when health and safety are supported by the organization’s culture and embedded in its procedures and processes. 
  • The community and its leaders can influence attitudes and cultural norms.
  • All parties with a role in work health and safety require appropriate knowledge and skills.
  • Work health and safety policy and practice should be informed by evidence. 
  • Governments can strongly influence work health and safety
  • The regulatory framework needs to be flexible, responsive, and adaptive to the changing nature of work and work circumstances. 

Measures to manage RCS.

There are different measures used to manage RCS in different workplaces and it is important to highlight some of these measures which include:

  • Wet dust suppression 
  • Dry dust suppression
  • Ventilation 
  • Respiratory protective equipment 
  • Don’t eat, drink or smoke near RCS dust
  • Wash hands and face before eating, drinking, or smoking following exposure. 
  • Schedule potential high-exposure work for times when there are fewer workers. 
  • Use natural stone like marble and limestone with lower silica content compared to manufactured stone (as low as 2% compared to 90%)

GRT’s product portfolio for RCS management.  

There are different GRT products used for wet dust suppression of RCS in different applications.

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

GRT provides innovative RCS dust suppression products, and you can use the GRT SMART Product Finder AI to get your application-specific product for the following areas:

Mining – GRT: Haul-Loc, GRT: ACTIVATE, GRT: 12X, GRT: DC Binder, GRT: Wet-Loc.

Tunneling – GRT: ACTIVATE UG, GRT:12X, GRT: DC Binder, GRT Wet-Loc, GRT: Enviro-Binder 

Quarrying – GRT: 12X, GRT: DC Binder, GRT: Haul-Loc 

Manufacturing – GRT: Wet-Loc, GRT: Enviro-Binder, GRT: ACTIVATE

Civil construction – GRT: Enviro-Binder, GRT9000, GRT: PCM, GRT7000 

Farming – GRT: Wet-Loc, GRT5000 

Why use GRT to manage your RCS?

We are RCS dust suppression specialists. Reach out to our General Manager and let us help you improve both regulatory and non-regulatory options available to deal with RCS at your site. When you choose GRT you are guaranteed the following: 

  • Site-specific products.
  • Exceptional product quality.
  • 24/7/365 expert teams.
  • Scheduled operational delivery.
  • Pre and post-site assessments.
  • Experienced engineers.
  • Advocates for compliance with TWA and STEL.
  • An innovative company that understands dust legislation. 
  • Track record of industry knowledge and contribution.