Astron was engaged by Monadelphous KT to implement a long term monitoring program for respirable crystalline silica in accordance with Australian Standard 2985-2009: Working Atmosphere-Methods for sampling and gravimetric determination of respirable dust. An extensive program was executed across 300km of pipeline installation, requiring daily occupational monitoring of respirable particulates.
Silica is silicon dioxide, a naturally occurring widely abundant mineral that forms the major component of most rocks and soils. There are non-crystalline and crystalline forms of silicon dioxide. Crystalline silica is also known as free silica. Crystalline silica dust particles which are small enough to penetrate deep into the lung are termed respirable and may cause lung damage.
The Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH) recommends “where there is a continued likelihood of 50 per cent of the exposure standard being exceeded, exposure monitoring and health surveillance should apply. To overcome limitations in analytical sensitivity, full shift monitoring and the use of a NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) registered laboratory is recommended.”
Laboratory results from the monitoring program coupled with detailed onsite geological assessment allowed Astron to accurately assess the risk and deliver targeted management intervention as required.