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Change in standard for respirable coal dust

The workplace exposure standard for respirable coal dust has been halved from 1 October in Queensland. The exposure standard was revised from a time weighted average of 3 milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m3) down to 1.5mg/m3.

Respirable coal dust can be generated and made airborne during work processes such as:

  • breaking, crushing or milling coal;
  • undertaking coal combustion processes;
  • handling and transporting coal and coal fly ash;
  • storing coal;
  • undertaking shutdown maintenance activities; and
  • cleaning workplaces where coal is used.

In response to the change in exposure standard, businesses that work with coal should:

  • review existing dust controls and procedures to make sure they meet the new standard;
  • continue to meet existing requirements for air and health monitoring;
  • provide appropriate training and respiratory protective equipment; and
  • remind workers of their obligation to:
  • take reasonable care for their own health and safety;
  • comply with any reasonable policy or procedure from the business for keeping safe from coal dust exposure at work; and
  • wear any appropriate personal protective equipment provided by the business, so far as they are reasonably able to, in accordance with training, information and reasonable instruction.
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