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Improving aggregates safety


January 20, 2016
By Andrew Macklin


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Mark Strebel of Martin Engineering discussing measures for dust prevention and suppression at pits and quarries

January 20, 2016 – The Ontario aggregates industry celebrated its success in keeping its operations safe, while also reminding contractors about potential hazards scattered throughout the jobsite.

The annual Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association Operations, Health and Safety seminar, an event held every January in Toronto, provides two days of presentations, panel discussions and keynote speeches that focus on the latest issues that impact the day-to-day operations of pits and quarries in Ontario.

Among the discussions were multiple presentations on health and safety issues regarding conveyors. A panel discussion focused on issues surrounding guarding panels for crushing and conveyor systems, which was lead by Matt MacDonald from James Dick Construction. Dean Glenn, VP at Assinck, used a series a site photos to ensure that contractors understood the best practices for when guarding should be placed around crushing systems on site. That was followed by Rick Schulist of the Ministry of Labour, who discussed upcoming changes to the safety framework for conveyor systems, including the implementation and standards for fencing. He finished the discussion by providing thre key messages: guard your conveyors, have pull cords in place and keep your workers safe.

The panel discussion was followed by a presentation from Mark Strebel from Martin Engineering, who focused on measures for managing dust on the jobsite. He reminded the crowd of the serious health risks created by unmanaged dust, including the potential for asthma, emphysema, silicosis and lung cancer.

Strebel recommended a pyramid approach is best for dust management: prevention/suppression, collection and containment. He provided three keys that will effect dust collection: control particle size, air velocity and material cohesiveness. Strebel’s presentation provided multiple ideas for controlling and suppressing dust around the jobsite, including managing air movement, controlling load placement and the use of moisture to limit the escape of airborne particles.

Despite the multiple issues that can impact health and safety at the jobsite, many pits and quarries had a very successful past year in limiting lost time due to injury. In total, 161 pits and quarries across Ontario received recognition for zero lost hours due to injury in the 12 months ending October 31st, 2015.

In total, approximately 350 attendees, speakers and exhibitors were involved in this year’s seminar. For more information on this event, as well as other OSSGA events, visit the association’s website at www.ossga.com. Also, visit www.rocktoroad.com for more coverage of association events and trade shows from throughout Canada.