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New environmental guidelines developed for concrete batch plants

The CCAA has released a new resource aimed at helping concrete batch plant operators comply with their environmental obligations.

The peak industry body has published its Environmental Management Guideline for Concrete Batch Plants, which aims to facilitate a ‘fit for purpose’ approach to hazard management and drive national consistency.

“This is the first such document that does this on a national level in partnership with all state-based Environment Protection Authorities (EPAs),” Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia’s (CCAA) Victoria/Tasmania state director Brian Hauser told Quarry.

To ensure infrastructure remained affordable, Hauser said it was important concrete is produced in close proximity to projects. It generally lasts 90 minutes before hardening, meaning plants were often located near communities.

“Increasing community expectations around environmental performance require our industry to drive new and innovative ways to discharge this environmental duty,” he said.

“The guideline takes what can sometimes be a diverse range of confusing regulatory requirements across different states and, in a very practical way, allows operators to develop an environmental management system for their own particular plant and needs.”

Hauser said the document is built on the risk management principles that require operators to undertake continuous improvement to:

• Identify potential environmental hazards.
• Assess the degree of risk.
• Determine and implement appropriate control measures.
• Record any action or work procedure established for the workplace.
• Monitor and review the effectiveness of these control measures.

“This approach allows for a ‘fit-for-purpose’ approach to managing hazards depending on where the concrete plant is located and its size and likely environmental impacts,” he said.

“The principle of implementing these controls ‘as far as reasonably practicable’ is embedded in the guideline, along with the concept of hierarchy of controls.

“The guideline then goes on to detail some typical hazards and a suite of controls that a concrete batch plant operator might choose from to fit the particular needs of their plant and location.”

He added: “The guideline is in no way prescriptive but does form a well regarded national body of knowledge for the industry to assist operators discharge their environmental duty.”

The guideline was developed under the auspices of the CCAA’s National Premixed Concrete Committee, chaired by Holcim Australia CEO George Agriogiannis, with senior executives from CCAA member companies.

A working group of six nationally representative experts was convened from the CCAA membership in late 2018 to develop the guideline.
Operators can find the resource on the CCAA’s website. It has been distributed to all EPAs nationally and to CCAA members through its electronic newsletters. It will also be accessible through the organisation’s social media channels and other media networks.

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