by Souzy Melharidis, Environmental Consultant, FSC Group
FSC recently performed a successful silica and respirable dust monitoring assessment for Laing O’Rourke at their Bridge Inn Road upgrade project in Melbourne. The project, which includes the construction of a new bridge and dual carriageway expansion to improve road connectivity in the city, faced the challenge of silica dust emissions.
Silica dust is a known human carcinogen and can cause lung cancer, silicosis, and other respiratory diseases. Thus, monitoring and controlling silica dust emissions during construction is crucial to protect the health of construction workers.
FSC was hired to design and implement a silica dust monitoring program for the project. We conducted a thorough site assessment to identify potential sources of silica dust emissions and evaluate the effectiveness of existing dust control measures. This assessment included measuring the levels of silica dust in the air at various locations on the construction site and interviewing workers to understand their dust exposure.
Based on the findings of the site assessment, FSC has developed a comprehensive monitoring plan that includes both personal and static monitoring methods for high-risk silica tasks. Personal monitoring involves the use of air monitors and specialised filters (monitors) to measure the levels of silica dust for specific people undertaking these tasks. Static monitoring involves the use of the monitors placed at key locations around the site to collect representative silica samples for a representative time.
FSC also worked closely with the construction team to implement additional dust control measures, such as water application methods to suppress dust, covering piles of loose materials, and implementing a traffic management plan to limit the movement of construction vehicles.
Throughout the construction period, we will be conducting regular monitoring to ensure that the dust control measures are effective and that the levels of silica dust in the air remain below the safe limits. Thus ensuring the health and safety of all stakeholders involved.