OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 532 Building safety

Employers must control the accumulation of dust in mine site buildings so that dust does not create a hazard to workers. Part 4 of the OHS Code covers concerns with exposure to coal dust in greater detail.

Dust itself is hazardous if it accumulates because it can create health problems for workers who inhale it. Fires and explosions can also result if an ignition source such as a spark from a piece of equipment is introduced. There have been several examples of coal dust explosions in plant galleries containing conveyors. Depending on the dryness and temperature at which coal leaves the dryer, its dust can pose a real threat of creating an explosion.

The variables in a possible dust explosion generally include the concentration and explosivity of the dust, dryness, sources of ignition and the spontaneous combustion characteristics of the material. The cleaner a plant or facility is kept, the less likely dust will present a hazard to workers.