Do any of you know of or watch the American TV series Under the Dome? The show is a science-fiction drama based on a book written by Stephen King.
Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of a small town in the US, where a massive, transparent, indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. The town’s residents and visitors are trapped inside with no communications or resources while the police and military try to break the dome down. Personally, I have seen the previews of the show but have never watched it.
But it got me thinking. Imagine if you could buy a dome, slightly modified for our industry, with limited access. We would solve any emission issues our industry has such as noise and dust overnight! We would also protect our boundaries from thrill-seekers with motorbikes or people who go swimming in sediment ponds or flooded pits.
Sadly, a dome around every quarry is indeed science-fiction.
We locate our quarries near where the market is — or will expand to be during the quarry’s resource life — but, sadly, over time the urban sprawl catches up with our industry.
It’s no longer acceptable to emit noise or dust close to or above our licence limits, so we have to upgrade our plant and equipment to achieve our social licence to operate. There is some terrific technology out there from our suppliers to prevent dust emissions at the source and to reduce our plant and mobile fleet noise emissions. All this comes at a cost that we can’t always pass on.
The IQA is developing some new field booklets, to add to our existing range on traffic management, slope stability and electrical awareness, to assist members. Tenders have been invited to produce two new editions — the Noise Awareness
Field Booklet and the Dust Awareness Field Booklet — which will help members manage their noise or dust issues.
The Noise Awareness Field Booklet will cover principles of noise and hearing, hearing loss and noise exposure, Australian standards and regulations, noise measurement (including personal and area monitoring) and noise control methods in a quarry.
The Dust Awareness Field Booklet will examine dust in the occupational environment of a quarry, types of dust, health effects of dust, dust measurement, Australian Standards and regulations and dust control methods in a quarry.
I recently saw the paper presented by Wayne Scott at the Queensland Safety Seminar and also New Zealand Conference earlier this year on unauthorised site access, which covers disused quarries and the management of trespassers. It is all too common for people to cut fences and get into the flooded pit “swim holes”.
Indeed, last year, a young person drowned at a disused Brisbane site that was promoted in a YouTube video as a terrific swimming hole. This sent a very powerful message to the industry about how we need to manage our assets, even after closure.
Even after writing this, I’m still unlikely to watch Under the Dome. I do recall a much older version of “the dome” – the cone of silence, on the classic TV show Get Smart, with Don Adams’ famous Agent 96 Maxwell Smart, who worked for the spy agency Control. This dome was ideal for the characters whenever they talked secret stuff. Sadly, I’m very likely declaring my age!
Until next time, stay safe!