The most effective tool in preventing respiratory diseases in mining is to minimise the exposure to industrial dust. While this may not be considered a practical approach, considering the amount of dust miners are exposed to, stringent safety standards can limit the exposure to dust sources.
The following steps can be put into place to help prevent respiratory diseases:
- Recognize where dust is generated and put plans in place ahead of time to control the source.
- Avoid abrasive blasting substances which contain over 1% crystalline silica.
- Keep dust control systems in good repair to ensure they are working at maximum capacity.
- Encourage employees to practice good personal hygiene to prevent exposure to other contaminants.
- Employees should wear protective clothing that is washable or disposable.
- Employees should shower where possible and change clothing before departing the worksite.
- Respiratory protection should be provided.
- Workers should be provided with adequate safety training and informed of the potential health effects involved.
- Warning signs should be put in place in high dust areas or areas where potentially hazardous materials are in use.
- Carry out air monitoring to measure the potential exposure to employees and put adequate controls in place to limit the risk.