OCTIEF is pleased to announce that NATA has accredited our Brisbane laboratory for the analysis of inhalable dust to Australian Standard AS 3640 and respirable dust to Australian Standard AS 2985.
OCTIEF field staff can collect samples or we can analyse samples that you have collected.
Employees are often exposed to dust through their work on sites such as:
- Mines – open cut, underground, hard rock and coal
- Brick, tile and concrete cutting, mixing and general construction
Health and safety effects of dust
Breathing in dust can result in a range of occupational illnesses and diseases depending on:
- size of dust particles
- composition of the dust particle and its effect on the body
- concentration of dust particles in the breathing zone of the worker
- how often and how long a person breathes in the dust.
Most dust clouds contain particles of widely varying sizes. Hazardous dust is not always visible.
The larger particles that can be breathed in are called inhalable or inspirable dust particles. Inhalable dust particles are visible to the naked eye and are deposited in the nose, throat and upper respiratory tract. Respirable dust contains dust particles so small they are invisible to the naked eye and reach deep into the lungs.
Different types of dust particles have different health effects. For example, respirable crystalline silica dust causes scarring of the lungs, and inhalable lead dust can damage the central nervous system. Many occupational diseases are the result of many years of exposure to dust and it may take years or decades before the disease becomes noticeable.
The potential health effects of some common dusts in mines and quarries are summarised below.
|Health effect||Dust particle content|
|Systemic toxic effects caused by absorption into the blood||Lead, manganese, cadmium, zinc|
|Allergic and hypersensitivity reactions||Certain woods, organic and inorganic chemicals|
|Bacterial and fungal infections||Viable organisms or spores|
|Lung scarring and fibrosis||Asbestos, quartz (crystalline silica)|
|Cancer||Chromates, asbestos, quartz (crystalline silica)|
|Irritation of the mucous membranes of the nose and throat||Acid, alkali, other irritating particles|
|Pulmonary disease (e.g. coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) such as bronchitis and emphysema)||Coal dust|