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Occupational Safety and Health Workshop focusing on exposure to dust in the minerals sector

On 4 - 6 November 2019, IMA Europe organised an Occupational Safety and Health Workshop to share knowledge and good practices in dust prevention and control, as well as the management of dangerous substances. The workshop concluded with a site visit to Sibelco’s Dessel plant.

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Official campaign partner IMA Europe organised the 9th edition of their IMA Europe Occupational Safety and Healthy (OSH) Workshop in Lommel, Belgium, hosted by the Sibelco Group, a material solutions company.  Participants from 15 IMA member companies and 20 different nationalities, including participants from Australia, USA, South Korea and Russia, attended.

The workshop provided training on the IMA Europe Dust Monitoring Programme, a database that gives a complete picture of the exposure levels in the Industrial Minerals (IM) industry by monitoring the exposure of workers to dust and quartz. The training highlighted the results of the programme: 40,000 dust measurements were collected by IMA member companies, resulting in improved compliance and better working conditions.

Speakers then presented projects related to dust, including for example the Sibelco “Going for Zero” Standard on Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) and other dusts. Steven Verpaele from IMA Europe also showcased innovations in real time dust and RCS monitoring, as well as OSH projects in the Belgian foundry industry.
Furthermore, Tim Tregenza from EU-OSHA presented the Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances campaign, highlighting its messages and aims, and the campaign activities of IMA Europe.
Speakers then focused on sharing good practices, e.g. related to the creation of dedicated “Safety Teams” and monitoring coupled with helmet cameras.

On 6 November, the workshop ended with a visit to the Sibelco Plant in Dessel, Belgium, to present the company’s on-site OSH measures, including good practices on managing dangerous substances.
Mr Andy Price, chair of the IMA OSH WG, concluded the workshop stating: “We want to improve our health and safety standards, we know how to improve, and through our results we show that we can do it!”