Nanozen Industries’ DustCount is a state-of-the-art, wearable respirable particulate monitor that provides highly accurate, real-time digital results continuously over a worker’s shift in underground mines. The Vancouver-based company recommends to African mining companies the monitor as a replacement for time-consuming and labour-intensive the standard pump/filter collection method.
Mining companies are obligated to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which stipulates minimising exposure to health and safety risks for their workers. This involves accurately identifying the level of exposure to risk. With the data gathered, they would be able to institute appropriate measures to mitigate the level of risk. For this reason, the onus is on mining companies to invest in suitable techniques to ensure compliance. This is based on the rule of the thumb: You can’t manage what you can’t monitor.
Silica dust exposure
One of the areas where reliable monitoring tools have to be utilised is in Silica dust exposure, which is widely regarded as one of the high-risks in the underground mining environment. With mining activity going deep-level (even ultra-deep as gold miners in South Africa confirm), there is more exposure of mineworkers to silica dust. There has been evidence that the standard pump/filter collection method, generally considered as traditional methods of silica dust monitoring, has limitations in this environment, a phenomenon which leaves mineworkers more vulnerable.
Thus, based on this aspect, the Product Development Team at Nanozen Industries in Vancouver, Canada urge mines to seek the proven alternative silica dust monitoring methods, referencing Nanozen’s dust monitoring solution. To demonstrate the effectiveness of Nanozen, firstly, they highlight inherent limitations of the standard pump/filter collection method, then how Nanozen’s flagship solution addresses them.
The old way of monitoring respirable dust
While some mine operators may regard the standard pump/filter collection method as ‘tried and tested’, its limitations far outweigh supposed benefits. Grant Henderson, head of the Team, points out that, eventually, using the standard pump/filter collection method turns to be labour-intensive and time-consuming.
“As an Industrial Hygienist or Occupational Health and Safety professional in the mining industry, you know that accurate, timely data is critical to protect the health and safety of workers under your watch. Hence Using the standard pump/filter collection method to monitor workers’ shifts, you are probably very familiar with frustrating delays, knowing that workers are potentially exposed to dangerous dust levels while you wait days or weeks for analytical lab results,” he explains.
“If silica dust is a safety concern at your site, you also have to send even more samples out for analysis. If the results come back with “failed” compliance, you must then try to find the source of the problem using more filter samples and handheld monitors. This is a very labour-intensive and time-consuming process, causing production delays and expenses for your company,” he proceeds.
A better way
Nanozen recommends its flagship product, DustCount, for silica dust monitoring to mining companies with underground operations in Africa. DustCount is one of the state-of-the-art, wearable respirable particulate monitors that provide highly accurate, real-time digital results continuously over a worker’s shift which Nanozen has been producing since 2016. DustCount is lightweight and compact with a rich set of features, wireless communications and built-in sample filter/cassette.
Henderson assures potential clients about the DustCount’s efficacy: “DustCount’s combination of real-time data plus filter cassette is the best of the old and the new!! If you are concerned about the delays and expenses associated with respirable dust monitoring at your operation, let Nanozen’s DustCount introduce you to a much better way to do your job. We would be delighted to hear from you!”
For potential clientele in Africa, Nanozen has a dedicated team of experts available to support and provide reliable solutions to their respirable dust compliance challenges.
How it works
The pocket-sized DustCount is worn by the worker during their entire shift, and live results are immediately available to the IH/OHS to review graphically. Any high exposure events and locations can be identified immediately for timely, focused mitigation. The same dust that is read in real-time is collected on the built-in filter and is available for post event analysis.
Silica results in 2 minutes
Nanozen has worked with NIOSH in the USA and with its Africa Distributor to integrate the DustCount’s built-in sample filter cassette with portable FTIR spectrometers. Nanozen has developed a standard method to calibrate portable FTIR spectrometers to provide highly accurate silica percentages in a few minutes.