Preliminary Respirable Crystalline Silica Assessment When Drilling



The Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association (ACLCA) engaged Helia EHS to assess risk to workers at drilling sites associated with dust inhalation. The preliminary assessment was conducted at three sites where solid auger drilling for the installation of groundwater monitoring wells penetrated interbedded sandstone and siltstone geologies of the Silurian Anderson Creek Formation.

Personal monitors were placed on the driller and consultant, as well as a static ambient monitor on the drilling rig. Monitoring was conducted over a single work shift. Dust samples were submitted for X-ray fluorescence (XRF) laboratory analysis.

The monitoring identified elevated RCS concentrations in driller samples which may exceed acceptable levels. Further investigation is proposed to assess the relative significance of specific RCS sources at drilling sites.

Further investigations should also look into other drilling methods, in particular rotary air hammer, and other geological formation. A review of OHS controls at drilling sites is in progress.

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