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Stay Diligent Against Dust

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A new awareness campaign has been launched by Coal Services to drive home the message that protection against dust exposure requires a sustained effort. 

The campaign includes the release of a revised ‘Dust Book’ that was first published by the Joint Coal Board in 1966. The 8th edition ‘Protecting against airborne dust exposure in coal mines’ is now available in both hard-copy and as a pdf on the Coal Services website.

Lucy Flemming, Managing Director/CEO, said that the campaign reminds us that prevention and vigilance is key to protecting workers from dust-related disease. 

“It can’t be a ‘set and forget’ mentality when it comes to maintaining awareness of the risks of dust exposure,” she said. “We are fortunate that we have a strong legislative framework in NSW, including the dust monitoring and health surveillance we perform under Order 42 and Order 43. Education is equally important to ensure that workers and employers remained informed about exposure controls and looking after their health.”

The Standing Committee on Dust Research and Control, established in 1954, is an expert advisory body comprising representatives of the mining companies, mining unions, industry specialists, government departments and Coal Services medical and engineering personnel.

Mark Shepherd, Chair of the Standing Dust Committee, said that the revised dust book is just the first step in the campaign.

“The updated dust book includes the revised workplace exposure standards that came into effect over the last twelve months. There is also a new section that covers key learnings from dust exceedances and investigation reviews. This type of information is shared at the Standing Dust Committee but it’s just as important, if not more so, that workers are aware of these messages and can apply them at their place of work,” said Mark.

“We want workers to avoid ‘normalising’ the dust, be on the lookout for change and make smart choices about their health. If it’s dustier than usual, there’s probably a very good reason so don’t ignore it; investigate it. Complacency is the enemy and we need to remember that the health impacts of dust exposure are not immediate.”

Coal Services is working with industry to educate their workforces on the issue of dust awareness. 

“We are committed to working with each individual mine site to deliver a targeted message, either at start of shift or at a training session, and to deliver these books into the hands of every coal mine worker across NSW,” he said.

NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee, supported the booklet’s release and applauded Coal Services’ work in assisting employers and their workforce by providing advice and education.  

“The release of this revised edition demonstrates the commitment of the Coal Services team to continuous improvement in education and management of airborne dust exposure and other important safe work practices,” he said.

General President of the CFMEU – Mining and Energy Division, Tony Maher, agreed.

“It’s important that every coal mine worker is armed with the best and latest information. Our industry must maintain a strong prevention focus and reinforce its commitment to protecting the health and safety of the industry’s most valuable asset – its workers,” Tony said.

The ‘dust book’ is available at www.coalservices.com.au

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