Dust hazards in mining
From 1 September 2020, the occupational exposure limits (OEL) for respirable dust and respirable crystalline silica (RCS) are 1.5mg/m3 and 0.05mg/m3 respectively.
Read the common questions relating to the revised OELs and how they may affect coal mines
Mining, maintenance or processing activities can result in the release of dust particles into the air. Exposure to dust in mining and quarrying continues to be a major risk to the health of workers.
Breathing in dust, such as coal dust, silica dust and other finely powdered materials, can damage the lungs and airways. The risk to health varies depending on the size and nature of the dust particles.
Exposure to dust can cause irritation to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract, and prolonged exposure can lead to a range of serious lung diseases including silicosis, coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.
Note: Read about the current review of pneumoconiosis screening and dust monitoring reporting requirements.
This guide provides details on managing dust hazards in Queensland mines and quarries, including information about legislative requirements, health impacts, measurement and control. You should consult an occupational health and safety professional for specific advice about controlling hazards in your workplace.
- Last reviewed: 26 Feb 2016
- Last updated: 1 Sep 2020
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