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Breathe Freely Australia silica and construction industry roadshows

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Don’t take the dust home with you

Dynamic Engineering Australia in conjunction with JetBlack Safety, had the opportunity to participate in Breathe Freely Australia’s Perth roadshow this week, focusing on the dangers of silica in WA’s engineered stone and construction industries. Greg Albert and myself attended the metro north seminar as sponsors, exhibitors and participants, and this is our takeout of the event.

Greg Albert at the Dynamic Engineering Australia display at the Breathe Freely Australia Perth roadshow, November 2019

It was the first time a seminar of this nature had been held in WA so was an interesting exercise to see how many and who attended. For a start, it was organised by the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH), which meant that a broad range of participants including builders, quarries, miners, insurance and risk assessors, hazardous zone consultants, workplace consultants, and other members of the construction and building industries. Granted only 70 people attended our seminar, but they had registrations for another 100+ people at the metro south and Bunbury seminars later in the week. The organisers were delighted with the turnout, and we were intrigued by the attendees, presenters’ messages, and language of occupational hygienists.

Breathe Freely Australia Perth Roadshow, November 2019

There were two key messages from the seminar of interest to us at Dynamic Engineering Australia:

  1. Don’t take the dust home with you – which was about taking care with housekeeping and clean-up after working in and around dangerous silica conditions. JetBlack Safety’s personnel cleaning booths was of particular interest to some of the attendees in regards to giving workers the option to “shower” when moving from dirty zones to clean zones during the day and once work had finished for the day
  2. Do what you can to prevent exposure to silica dust – the hard-line approach from some of the presenters was to avoid using silica products all together (eg finding alternate materials to silica products in homes and buildings) but given the demand for the beauty and hardwearing elements of granite, they acknowledged employers could have in place a number of environmental and engineering controls to prevent exposure to silica dust for both workers and people/cars/equipment in the vicinity. These included PPE, on-tool extractors, and at-source (local exhaust ventilation) filters and extractors. Dynamic Engineering Australia has a range of at-source dust and fume extraction solutions that would add to a workplace’s combination of controls to minimise exposure to these dangerous particles.

So all in all, it was time well spent getting to meet people in WA’s silica industry and becoming part of the occupational hygienists mission to make workplaces safer for workers. We will definitely continue to participate where we can, and we look forward to the AIOH annual conference being held in Perth later this month.

Greg Albert from Dynamic Engineering Australia

Carolyn Combes

 DEA and JetBlack Safety are members of the AIOH and welcome the opportunity to jointly demonstrate our commitment to worker protection and health in the engineered stone and construction industries.