June 6, 2018 Tara



Respirable mine dust* is an unseen hazard that impacts on the health of mine workers later in their career or after their career has finished. To prevent lung disease / COPD for the entire life of the operator the emphasis must be on the removal of all Respirable Dust / Fibres from the operators breathing zone while working on site. Dust exposure can also cause irritation and inflammation of the eyes and worsens pre-existing conditions. It has a drying effect with skin contact that can result in dermatitis. Prolonged exposure to fine dust results in increased nasal and respiratory conditions such as coughing. The result of high and prolonged exposure leads to inflammation of the lining tissue of the respiratory system with further complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Respirable particulate matter (diameter <5 micron) is suspended in air that can travel to the deep tissue of the lungs and pass through to blood stream associated with even higher risks to health.

*Definition: Dust of less than 10 microns which is capable of penetrating deep into the alveoli” (Source BSEN 481)

Mining, quarry & construction machines often operate 24/7 in hot, dirty, dust-laden environments high in Respirable Particles due to the site production practices. Keeping the operator’s environment safe and healthy is an extreme task for maintenance crews.

Most standard OEM installed air quality (filtration) systems on enclosed cabins are not designed for the removal of Respirable Particles. A well-designed independently fan forced air filtration system with HEPA H13 grade filters will exponentially reduce exposure to harmful particulates such as RCS Respirable Crystalline Silica, all types of particulate matter and other airborne contaminants.

The mitigation process is a multi-level approach with dust separation techniques in conjunction with well-designed engineering controls.

Breathe-safe have evidence that supports the effectiveness of this multi-level approach, protecting workers from situations where they could be exposed to several respirable hazards from low to high exposure level concentrations in their working environment at mineral processing sites, construction sites, waste and landfills and agricultural settings.

The Brief:

Our customer an open pit operation has never had an engineering control in place for the control of respirable mine dust, DPM & mineral fibres. The engineered solution needs to be effective at removing dust including respirable dust & be cost effective.

The solution:

Install a two stage Breathe-safe HEPA Air Filtration System. An externally Fresh Air Cabin Pressuriser (often called an over pressure system) with ACPC (Auto Cabin Pressure Control)

also acts as the internal Cabin Pressure monitor. Internally a HEPA grade return air filter will either replacing the OEM return air filter or a self-powered unit. The Breathe-safe multi-level approach is designed to exceed International Standard EN15695 that evaluates cabin sealing and High Efficiency Particle filtration.

Breathe-safe multi-level air filtration system key features include:


  • We always begin with an effectively sealed cabin
  • Integrated system – External HEPA H13 grade Pressuriser ducted into fresh air intake PLUS Internal HEPA grade return air filter produce close to 100% HEPA grade filtered air in the breathing zone via the air conditioning vents
  • Auto Cabin Pressure Control ACPC– Dramatically increases the service life of the HEPA filters.
  • In built DATA recorder
  • Reduce heat load by delivering only the required volume of fresh air
  • Near Silent system operation
  • Digital display to alert operator if the system requires maintenance
  • Remote cabin pressure monitoring capable of alerting site management via GSM/4G/wi-fi communication.
  • Long life brushless pressuriser motor
  • Reduce airborne dust / fibres exposure when operator remains inside (Door shut and windows closed).
  • Primary HEPA H13 filter maintains HVAC components dust free
  • HEPA tested and certified filters to EN1822 with serial numbers for chain of evidence

Note: The most significant improvement to air quality once a HEPA grade pressuriser has been installed is the installation of a HEPA return air filtration system. This traps airborne substances inside the cabin during entry & exit of the operator as well as contaminant carried in on the operator’s shoes or clothes.

The results: – Cost reductions compared to replacing the OEM filters as recommended.


The life cycle of the external HEPA filter has exceeded 2000 hours on a number of machines,

providing a massive improvement in air quality and delivering reduced maintenance cost the high grade HEPA filter with the ACPC system reduces filter change outs and reduces / eliminates HVAC maintenance (DUST FREE HVAC). Management has access to remote data downloads to analyse and review DATA plus operator awareness / alerts that the system is working correctly or needs maintenance.


All machines on this site are now installed with the Breathe-safe multi-level air filtration & pressurisation system.


System management – Future proofing

Site Management can review / download data that can demonstrate that a system has been working correctly and providing a safe working environment for the service life of the machine.



Protect your lungs with Breathe Safe, for further information regarding air quality systems, please call 1300 667 597 or visit

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