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Dust monitoring data - coal mines

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. Find out more about the exposure level review.

Read the common questions relating to the revised OELs and how they may affect coal mines.

From 1 January 2017, amendments to the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017 require all Queensland coal mines to provide quarterly respirable dust data to Resources, Safety and Health Queensland's (RSHQ) Chief Inspector of Coal Mines.

The graphs below represent respirable dust and RCS data for 2017, 2018, 2019 and quarter 2 of 2020.

All quarterly data for 2020 will continue to be compared against the previous OELs (in effect prior to September 2020) and the corresponding most common shift adjustment. From 1 January 2021, all data will be compared against the revised OELs of 1.5mg/m3 (RCD) and 0.05mg/m3 (RCS).

The datasets are presented for similar exposure groups (SEGs). These identify groups of workers who have the same general exposure to risk, for example, because they perform similar tasks or use the same types of materials or processes.

While public disclosure of respirable dust data for specific mines is restricted under coal mining health and safety legislation, Queensland coal mines are required to display dust data at their mine sites in a location easily viewable by the mine's workers.

Information that could identify individual mine sites has been omitted from the graphs below and a random number assigned to each mine.

Respirable dust

Respirable dust is very fine dust which is able to reach the lower regions of the lung. It is generally 10 microns or less in diameter.

The results of the monitoring program for two of the higher risk SEGs from underground and surface operations are shown below. The graphs show the average exposure of the SEG to respirable dust over the previous quarters. Each vertical bar represents a different mine site.

The graphs show the occupational exposure limit (OEL) at 2.5mg/m3, as well as a common shift adjusted OEL of 2.35mg/m3 for miners working more than 40 hours per week.

Note: Some datasets are less than the statistically significant 6 samples and are therefore provided as a guide only to ensure a full data set is represented.

Underground sites

Longwall Production (QCU001) SEG

Graph of respirable dust levels in underground coal mines for the longwall workers similar exposure group

Respirable dust levels in underground coal mines for the longwall workers SEG

Development Production (QCU002) SEG

Graph of respirable dust levels in underground coal mines for the development workers similar exposure group

Respirable dust levels in underground coal mines for the development workers SEG

Surface sites

Blast crew (QCS007) SEG

Graph of respirable dust levels in surface coal mines for the blast crew workers similar exposure group

Respirable dust levels in surface coal mines for the blast crew workers SEG. Note that 2020 average data includes Q1 and Q2.

Blast hole drillers (QCS010) SEG

Graph of respirable dust levels in surface coal mines for the blast hole drillers similar exposure group

Respirable dust levels in surface coal mines for the blast hole drillers SEG. Note that 2020 average data includes Q1 and Q2.

Total exceedances for respirable dust

The following graphs show the number of times that the OEL or the shift-adjusted OEL was exceeded across all sites (underground and surface operations) and the percentage of exceedances per mine.

Total number of exceedances

Total number of exceedances of respirable dust OELs in coal mines

Total percentage of exceedances

Percentage of exceedances of respirable dust OELs in coal mines

Respirable crystalline silica (quartz)

The results of the monitoring program for two of the higher risk SEGs from underground and surface operations are shown below. The graphs show the average exposure of the SEG to respirable crystalline silica (quartz) over the previous quarters. Each vertical bar represents a different mine site.

The graphs also show the OEL at 0.1mg/m3, as well as a shift-adjusted OEL of 0.09mg/m3 for miners who work more than 40 hours per week on average.

Underground sites

Longwall Production (QCU001) SEG

Graph of respirable crystalline silica levels at underground coal mines for the longwall workers similar exposure group

Respirable crystalline silica levels at underground coal mines for the longwall workers SEG

Development Production (QCU002) SEG

Graph of respirable crystalline silica levels at underground coal mines for the development workers similar exposure group

Respirable crystalline silica levels at underground coal mines for the development workers SEG

Surface sites

Blast crew (QCS007) SEG

Graph of respirable crystalline silica levels at surface coal mines for the blast crew workers similar exposure group

Respirable crystalline silica levels at surface coal mines for the blast crew workers SEG. Note that 2020 average data includes Q1 and Q2.

Blast hole drillers (QCS010) SEG

Graph of respirable crystalline silica levels at surface coal mines for the blast hole drillers workers similar exposure group

Respirable crystalline silica levels at surface coal mines for the blast hole drillers workers SEG. Note that 2020 average data includes Q1 and Q2.

Total exceedances for respirable crystalline silica (quartz)

The following graphs show the number of times that the OEL or the shift-adjusted OEL was exceeded across all sites (underground and surface operations) and the percentage of exceedances per mine.

Total number of exceedances

Total number of exceedances of OEL for respirable crystalline silica

Total percentage of exceedances

Percentage of exceedances of OEL for respirable crystalline silica

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