The Western Australia Government has made an important change to the workplace exposure standards for diesel particulate matter (DPM) that applies to all Western Australian mining operations.
Mine operators must now ensure DPM does not exceed 0.1 milligrams per cubic metre of air in the workplace.
DPM is a component of diesel engine exhaust which is a known health hazard for the mining industry, particularly underground mines.
While mine operators were previously encouraged to ensure DPM was kept as low as possible, compliance was voluntary.
Introducing the exposure standard follows extensive scientific research into DPM exposure risks and consultation with the mining sector.
Hence, it will be implemented immediately as industry should already have controls in place.
The announcement follows the workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica halved to 0.05 milligrams per cubic metre as of October 27, 2020; and respirable coal dust will be halved to 1.5 milligrams per cubic metre effective October 27, 2021.
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Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said: “The Western Australia Government is committed to safety and this new workplace exposure standard is a big win for mine workers. We will continue to work with the mining sector to ensure operators are managing risks and applying the new diesel particulate matter exposure standard. Healthy mine sites are the bedrock that underpins the Western Australia Government’s goal to make Western Australia the world’s safest mining environment.”
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