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QUARRY’S $180,000 FINE AFTER SILICA DUST EXPOSURE
The quarry was ordered to pay a $180,000 fine due to the failure of providing and upholding a safe system of work.
In September 2019, inspectors from WorkSafe observed and reported on several exposure hazards from silica dust as a result of the blasting, crushing, mixing, screening and transferring of the rock.
Further investigation into the issues did uncover that several employees were exposed to silica dust which was above the standard for exposure, and that management for such consequences had not been controlled by relevant PPE, which has a significant impact on reducing the risk of serious injuries and death involved with the dust exposure.
WorkSafe Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said the risks associated with crystalline silica and the available control measures were well known.
“There is simply no excuse for placing your workers at risk of developing deadly lung conditions such as silicosis,” Dr Beer said.
“This insidious and incurable disease does not discriminate and WorkSafe will not hesitate to take strong action against those failing to protect their workers, regardless of the industry.”
To manage the risks associated with crystalline silica dust in the extractives industry, duty holders should:
- Consult with workers, including any health and safety representatives, to identify hazards and determine how to control risks.
- Ensure any high risk crystalline silica work (HRCSW) is identified, recorded and only performed in accordance with a hazard control statement that is up to date and reviewed when necessary.
- Provide information, instruction and training to workers undertaking HRCSW on the associated health risks and the proper use of required control measures, such as appropriate respiratory protective equipment.
- Provide and maintain adequate airborne dust suppression and/or dust extraction ventilation systems.
- Enclose dust-generating sections of plant and/or areas where people are working within purpose built enclosures.
- Ensure work areas are cleaned regularly to prevent the build-up of dust on plant, equipment, working surfaces or the floor.
- Conduct atmospheric monitoring to ensure the concentration of respirable crystalline silica does not exceed the workplace exposure standard and provide test results to any at risk worker as soon as reasonably practicable.
- Ensure the health of workers who may be impacted by exposure to crystalline silica is monitored by a registered medical practitioner.
- Ensure the silica content of the quarried material is known, and that this information is passed on to customers.
- Ensure silica dust signs are displayed clearly for employees awareness around the site.
For more information visit worksafe.vic.gov.au/dust-containing-crystalline-silica-extractive-industry
Read the full article here.