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Wiping away dust exposure in quarries


Sandvik’s crushing and screening products have a number of dust prevention solutions in place to protect quarry workers and the environment.

Stricter limits to silica dust exposure in mines and quarries have now been introduced across many of Australia’s states and territories.

The Workplace Exposure Standard limit for silica dust has been reduced to 0.05 milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m³) from 1 mg/m³, and 1.5 mg/m³ of respirable coal dust from 2.5 mg/m³.

These revised limits aim to prevent health complications caused by crystalline silica, which is found in materials including sand, stone, concrete and mortar.

It is commonly used to make brick and tile products, but the dust particles can easily damage the lungs and result in health complications such as silicosis, which could be fatal.

More than half a million Australians were exposed to silica in 2011 with 5758 of those workers expected to develop lung cancer later in life.

To ensure site equipment meets the revised standards, Sandvik’s dust prevention solutions used by its crushing and screening products include dust suppression, dust control, dust collector and dust extraction system solutions.

According to Sandvik, dust extraction systems are the most effective de-dusting solution – as long as the system is configured to the correct calculations.

Sandvik senior sales manager for crushing and screening Heiner Günzel told Quarry that the original equipment manufacturer provided the expertise required to deliver a cost-effective dust extraction system.

“The expertise we provide ensures you have a stable running system,” he said. “One major aspect of providing the right calculation is design of the pipes and cables. The second is calculating the airflow to extract the right amount of dust.

“You must have a proper calculation and engineering must be done to have a good running system.”

Günzel said Sandvik provided special piping systems in its de-dusting solutions to prevent the wear caused by silica. As a result, Sandvik’s de-dusting solutions require less maintenance.

“With silica, all the piping burns out very quick,” he said. “This makes the system very expensive when it comes to a maintenance point.”

“We have a special design in the piping systems themselves to avoid this kind of wear and extend the lifetime of the pipes.”

Sandvik’s focus on dust control in Australia is a continuation of the company’s success in Germany, which previously introduced stricter dust limits.

“It is basically, this is the journey of what we had in Germany a couple of years ago where dust limits where reduced,” Günzel said. “That is also where these installations come from in basically 90 per cent of quarries today.”

Sandvik’s dust extraction systems can be installed in new and existing plants, with its team of experts in Australia ensuring the most cost-effective solution is achieved.