Monthly Archives: December 2018

Merry Christmas

To all our Christian clients – DustWatch CC wishes you all a blessed Christmas season.

Occupational Health and Safety in the Mining Industry

Below are extracts from two papers concerning health and safety in the mining industry.  Those who are interested can read further – please follow the links provided to the original articles.


Occupational health and safety in mining—status, new developments, and concerns
by M.A. Hermanus


This paper examines the occupational health and safety performance (OHS) of the South African mining sector against the backdrop of changes in the composition of the sector, international trends in OHS performance, and the agreement on OHS milestones and targets by mining stakeholders at the Mine Health and Safety Summit of 2003. Although OHS performance has improved, progress is slow and there is need for significant rather than incremental change if the targets are to be realized. Since 2003, fatalities and
injuries are 20–25% short of annual milestones and not all commodities show consistent improvement. Statistics on occupational health impacts are unavailable, but noise and respirable dust levels are known to be high in mines, with much work lying ahead to address exposures at source. Trends in regulating and addressing OHS hazards are discussed with reference to the notion of ‘systemsthinking’ and the targets.

Efforts to improve OHS and to respond to changes in the sector are constrained by a lack of training and
consistency in risk management, guidance for junior, small and artisanal miners, and holistic approaches to risk. For example, treating risk holistically would involve taking proper account of contractors and women in the workplace, and attending to human factors and ergonomics.”

Health and Safety

Occupational health and safety challenges…South African gold & platinum mines

Occupational Health Southern Africa


Historically, the mining industry has been a male-dominated sector and it has been a challenge to introduce and ensure full incorporation of women into this sector.1 The employment of women in the South African mines, since 2004, is a relatively new phenomenon.1,2 As such; the South African government adopted a number of strategies aimed at opening up the mining sector for previously disadvantaged individuals, including women as part of its economic empowerment policy, and in line with the mining charter and the Employment Equity Act. 2,3

Compared to their male counterparts, women in mining (WIM) have unique health and safety needs resulting from their anatomical and physiological makeup. Of equal ­importance is the fact that the International Labour Organization has classified women workers as “vulnerable workers” with special occupational health and safety needs 4, and WIM are no exception. This is compounded by the fact that there is a paucity of published data on occupational health and safety (OH&S) issues concerning WIM.

In general, women workers face equal but also ­different OH&S challenges at work compared to men. However, because women workers are vulnerable, they tend to suffer the most from work-related diseases, including musculo­skeletal and reproductive problems, compared to their male counterparts.5 This clearly indicates the need to protect and promote women’s OH&S at work, by addressing issues that are unique to them. In addition, the Safety and Health in Mines Convention C176 of (1995) was ratified by South Africa on the 9th of June 2009, which recognises the desirability to prevent any fatalities, injuries or ill health affecting workers or members of the public, or damage to the environment arising from mining operations.6

In South Africa, Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA), No 29 of 1996 as amended provides for the monitoring of conditions that will promote a culture of OH&S in the mining industry and protect mine workers and other persons at mines.7 However, it has not made specific provision for gender specifications regarding OH&S conditions in the mines. This paper describes socio-demographic characteristics and explores OH&S challenges reported by WIM in two mines. Recommendations are made that should contribute to the improvement of the OH&S of WIM.”

Invisible Fine Dust

Particulate Matter

The Invisible Fine Dust

Environmental Expert

“Apr. 13, 2016
Courtesy of Dr. Födisch Umweltmesstechnik AG

Air is lifeblood. Daily we inhale approximately 15.000 liter. Still, the air contains invisible pollutants, which vary in its composition and concentration depending on the location. Especially the respirable particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 µm (PM 2.5) were considered to be particularly dangerous.

According to a current study conducted by the Max Planck Society, worldwide 3.3 million people annually die prematurely due-to consequences of air pollution. In the European Union, the exposure with fine dust and ozone causes up to 180 000 deaths each year, of which alone 35 000 die in Germany. (Source) Various examinations have proven that dust polluted air indoor and outdoor damage the heart, lungs and brain resulting in an increased infarction and stroke risk and rising attacks of asthma. At the latest since the Volkswagen emission scandal and the fine dust alert in Stuttgart, the topic gained presence. It is a fact that the emission of fine dust and nitrogen oxide in exhaust gases is not entirely caused by road transport vehicles. Not only in Stuttgart, but also in other areas in Europe the particulate matter concentrations are too high. Also tyre abrasion on the roadway as well as aviation and railway related PM2.5 emissions contribute to a rising fine dust concentration in the environment. The promotion of small-scale firing plants in recent years intensified the problem and demonstrates nowadays its full impact. Biomass power plants and industrial incinerations were the main emitters of fine dust particles.

European emission limits and emission guidelines should control the respirable dust pollution. Since 2015 exist a limit value of 25 µg/m³ in the annual average throughout Europe. This value will be reduced in 2020 to 20 µg/m³. The conformation of the limitation values were controlled by 170 regulatory measuring stations of the Federal Environment Agency in Germany. According to their results, the fine dust pollution has diminished over the last few years at both national and regional level, but the trend stagnated since 2013. (Source)
Comprehensible to everyone is that fine dust pollution rises in urban and suburban spaces, whereas in rural areas the values decrease.
To combat causes is more difficult than the responsible persons thought.

No matter what the weather is like: The fine dust measurement fits

Weather-related influences adversely affect the measurement. Regulatory measuring stations, as required to gain reliable measuring values, are technically sophisticated and cost-intensive. Currently six regulatory measuring stations in Stuttgart were installed.

Through the compact fine dust sensor FDS 15 from Dr. Födisch Umweltmesstechnik AG, a smart fine dust measuring instrument enters now the market that determines the fine dust concentration (PM2.5) in a similar way. Previous trials in Germany and China correspond well to the regulatory measuring stations. Every two seconds, a measuring signal is transmitted to the receiver. Depending on the customers’ requirements the determined values can be averaged over minutes or hours. Due to the continuous measuring principle, the values contain a high level of information density and have therefore also a great expressiveness.

Moreover, through the WLAN-capability and the connection of several sensors, it can be defined precisely, where and when the fine dust pollution comes from. This is shown by the evaluation of our test results.”


For the full article, please follow the link provided.

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2019

Good day

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course is in January 2019 in Rustenburg and the other dates at this venue and the Pretoria venue are shown below for the 2019 year.


14 – 18 January 2019 – Rustenburg
08 – 10 May 2019 – Rustenburg
24 – 26 July 2019 – Rustenburg
11 – 15 November 2019 – Rustenburg
12 – 14 February 2019 – Pretoria
9 – 11 April 2019 – Pretoria
11 – 13 June 2019 – Pretoria
8 – 10 October 2019 – Pretoria


The costs are in the attached files, R4400 per person per day.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email or call 021 789 0847 or 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries, comments, or suggestions.


Chris Loans

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2019

Habits that are bad for your indoor air quality

5 Habits that are bad for your indoor air quality

Environmental Expert

Nov. 20, 2017
Courtesy of Allerair Industries

“School is starting, but warm weather means we are still spending more time outside and keeping windows open as much as possible. However, it doesn’t mean we are safe from poor indoor air quality at home. In fact, indoor air may be more polluted in the summer months than in the wintertime. The reasons include high humidity, pollutant buildup, pesticides and VOCs.

There are certain habits in particular that put our health and well-being at risk in the summer and fall, but awareness and a few tweaks in these habits can help combat poor IAQ this time of year.

Forgetting to Monitor Humidity

In winter, it’s easy to take an interest in humidity levels, since low humidity could lead to nasal irritation and discomfort. In the summertime, humidity is often high and can make its way indoors through open windows and cracks in the building.

The problem is that high levels of humidity can lead to mold growth and a multitude of health problems. It often starts in the basement, where cold walls react to warm air or saturated soil around the home, which leads to condensation and increased humidity.

Humidity levels should stay between 40-60% in the summer, and they should not get much higher than 60% before mold growth becomes a concern. Most homes need a dehumidifier in the basement to regulate humidity, but increased air circulation and monitoring also help.

Slacking Off on the Regular Cleaning Schedule

Hey, we get it, everyone is busy, and cleaning sometimes takes a back seat to hanging out with friends, getting some exercise or attending an outdoor event. But it might be a good idea to keep vacuuming and mopping regularly. Going in and out many times throughout the day means more dirt ends up inside, pets shed just as much as usual (if not more) and dust mites also like to multiply in these conditions.

Going Overboard with Renos and Projects

During the spring, summer and fall, many people move homes or start on a renovation or restoration project close to their heart. And warmer months are great for these activities, as many projects can be done outside or with open windows to maximize ventilation and to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals. Still, taking on too much could wreak havoc with the indoor air quality, and poorly planned projects also bring more headaches than joy. Focus on one project at a time, include the weather forecast in your planning and buy the least harmful products possible.

Leaving the A/C on Continuously

If you are living in a warm region, constant high temperatures are worrisome and can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, but leaving the air conditioning running all the time is also problematic. That’s because when the A/C is on, windows stay shut, and pollutants from everyday products and building materials as well as those brought in from outside remain trapped indoors, building up to unhealthy levels. It’s much better to run the air conditioning during the hottest hours in the day and to open windows at night for optimum air circulation.

Using Pesticides to Combat Bugs

Warmer temperatures mean more insects – a common complaint during the summer – and they like to find their way indoors during fall. Mosquitoes, flies, spiders, ants, and co. will make their appearances, wanted or not. But spraying pesticides is not a good idea, as these chemicals are not only harmful to insects but also to humans, and children in particular. Using screens in windows and on patio doors helps to keep bugs out. Boric acid can help combat ants in the home, and it’s much safer than chemical pesticides.

Try natural bug sprays with citronella and essential oils of lavender, thyme and mint to keep bugs away. Certain plants around the doors and deck can also help: Basil, lemon balm, lemongrass, lavender, rosemary and marigold, for example.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.