Assessing Airborne Contaminant Exposures During Cold Splicing And Hot Splicing Of Conveyor Belts In The Western Australian Mining Sector
Safety Institute of Australia Ltd
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences/Occupational Health Research Group
Belt splicer worker exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and inhalable dust at an iron ore port facility based in the Pilbara has not been adequately characterised. Personal airborne monitoring was undertaken to determine potential exposures to VOCs and inhalable dust during belt repair and splicing activities. A monitoring program was developed based on hazards identified during a risk assessment. Toluene and cyclohexane potential exposures were of specific interest based on quantity used and their toxicological properties. Airborne samples were collected using standard sampling methods and analysed at a NATA accredited laboratory. Results were statistically analysed using IHSTAT including historical data available for relevant Similar Exposure Groups (SEGs) at the Pilbara based site. Mean exposure results for the Belt splicer SEGs were below the current occupational exposure limits (OELs) for VOCs and inhalable dust. Work practices and undertaking work in an open-air environment has kept VOC exposures below the OEL.