From the Secretariat (Issue 105)

By on August 6, 2019

CMPA’s involvement with Dust

RON KERR, Honorary CEO of CMPA provides an introduction to dust and a history behind CMPA’s involvement on this issue.

We as an association have tirelessly tried to bring this to our members attention from our very first issues of Sand & Stone through training resources and policy documents, submissions and presentations to our regulators. To that extent even a senate enquiry (2005). The intent is to ensure that all people working on the sites are educated in dust management and aware of their obligations.

I am concerned that the effort and outcomes are not being followed through by our regulators and bodies responsible for this.

Example would be the failed outcome requirements of the senate enquiry. If one is to consider carefully the significance of dust and the impact from it and the awareness of the department of mines as far back as 1967 a document of which was sent out to all quarrying companies in Victoria, which all should read, you would feel that this should no longer be a community issue let alone a business issue.

The reality is our industry and its regulation have ensured a reasonable high standard of compliance but when I move around the countryside and talk to those in the community the issue of dust is still at the forefront of many of their discussions.

Closer investigation though brings to question that there are other sectors or other businesses with like tasks that are not under the responsibility of work authorities and are slipping under the radar when it comes to compliance.

Those that are complying and have in place the management systems and there monitoring evidence and have invested in the capital plant to supress and or collect the dust emissions are left at a financial disadvantage.

The impact of this in the long run in the marketplace is that non-compliance is being rewarded with market share. At the same time the industry is drawn further into the vortex of the dust issue and the health liability within other sectors.

I am not entirely confident that the Regulators are enforcing compliance and that Work Authority holders are compliant to the current Workplace Exposure Standard of 0.1 mg/m3 respirable crystalline silica. It is necessary to have a more open process between the industry and the Regulators to understand the current situation using factual information.

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