Regarding prevention of the Health and Safety of workers, IMA-Europe has developed a programme to monitor the exposure of workers to dust and quartz: the IMA Dust Monitoring Programme. The resulting database allows having a complete picture of the exposure levels in the IM industry and we observe an encouraging reduction of the exposures year on year.
For more than 10 years, IMA-Europe has been collecting the results of respirable dust and quartz measurements from more than 35 companies across Europe producing different industrial minerals (IM).
The respirable dust and quartz measurements are collected in accordance with a standardised monitoring protocol which follows strict quality criteria.
The database now includes the results of more than 20,000 respirable dust measurements.
The statistical analysis of the exposure data is performed by the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) of Utrecht University (The Netherlands).
The benefits of being part of the dust monitoring programme are numerous. It allows companies to
- Check compliance with national occupational exposure limits,
- Have a complete picture of existing exposure levels at their sites (high and low exposed workers),
- Identify situations requiring further investigation or implementation of additional control measures to reduce exposure,
- Monitor results/effectiveness of implemented dust control measures. As analyses of temporal trends show, it has helped IM producers to reduce exposure year on year.
The project is open at any time to any IMA member company wishing to join. This unique exposure database will prove to be very valuable in evaluating time trends in exposure to respirable dust and its crystalline silica content and when studying health effects due to exposure to respirable dust among these workers.