ITA President Arnold Dix discusses how the better management of potentially carcinogenic diesel emisssions is long overdue.

In this article Arnold Dix clearly identifies the link between diesel emissions and cancer, given that it has been well understood for more than a decade it is time that the industry acknowledges the risk and that effective management strategies become common practice.

The directive (EU) 2019/130 of 16th January amended the directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of works from the related risk to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work.

He goes on to say that diesel powered construction equipement will continue to play a significant  role in underground constructions for decades to come even as other energy sources become viable so it is time to acknowlege, manage and mitigate risks for underground construction and mine workers. These should be as routine as any other saftey measure in the workplace. The solutions are readily understood and easily implemented often complimenting other strategies for mitigating risk. While eliminaton is the highest priority measures such as tunnel ventialtion, vehicle maintenance and fuel selections are all examples of  practical methods.

Francois Velge and the Pinssar team wholeheartedly believe that the only way to effectively design and implemement mitigaton strategies to minimise the risk from diesel emisssions is through monitoring and have developed the worlds first and only real-time continuous diesel particulate monitor designed specifically for harsh underground environments. The real time data made available gives management the abilty to respond quickly to excedeences making good decisions and good outcomes both at the time and for future planning.

The risk, most importantly to workers health is too great to simply disregard the dangers of diesel emissions, similarly the impact on production, profits and reputation cannot be ignored.

Click here to read  The cancer risk from diesel emissions in underground works

Tunnelling Journal October / November 2022

 

Related news

23 July 2022

A beginner’s guide to Diesel Particulate Matter

What is Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM)? Diesel Particulate Matter is the particles of microscopic material found in the exhaust of diesel engines. It includes fine carbon particles to which hazardous chemicals called poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) adhere.

Read article
18 November 2021

Efficient Diesel Management Committees will accelerate your DPM mitigation strategy

Efficient Diesel Management Committees will accelerate your DPM mitigation strategy

Read article
13 August 2021

In the media: Australian Mining Review

Learn what Pinssar had to say to The Australian Mining Review, Technical Talk about monitoring diesel emissions underground.

Read article

Contact us

Want to find out more?

Efficient Diesel Management Committees will accelerate your DPM mitigation strategy

This opinion piece will highlight the importance of Diesel Management Committees (DMC) in being the catalyst to introduce, test and review any DPM mitigating technologies or mitigating practices. Based on information from various whitepapers written over the last 10 years, this piece will explore and summarize what is required to make a successful DMC.

Throughout the years it has often be advocated that the use of an integrated approach to reduce DPM levels is not the task of a selected few but rather an all of mine approach (Schnakenberg et al 2006, Mischler et al 2009). Importantly, Mischler reinforces that without a management supported ‘DPM champion’ any DPM mitigation will lose the required impetus to succeed. Often it will be up to the champion to inspire each department to research the latest DPM mitigation technologies prior to presenting their options to the DPM committee for collaborative selection.

The DPM mitigation within the diesel management system requires inputs from various departments, such as engine maintenance, ventilation, OH&S as well as senior management. Broadly the mitigation of DPM can divided into engineering controls and administrative controls (Bugarski et al 2012). Transitioning to these mitigating controls can be expensive and requires a systematic approach.

Commonly, mine site strategies require each department to investigate new methods that may reduce DPM. However, it is generally recognised that engineering solutions can be expensive and may not always perform as claimed by the OEM’s. Additionally, the technologies need to be tested in the harsh underground mine environment during production. The conventional Denning’s Wheel, PDCA is the preferred method to trial new technologies. An important part of this process requires continuous monitoring of the equipment as well as the environment to ascertain the success or otherwise of the new technology i.e., benchmarking before, during and after scenarios.

An important role of the committee is to review the technology holistically (Schnakenberg 2006). To do so there is a need for a wide range of skills that no one person only can be expected to have. The committee through the representations of the relevant departments (fleet management, ventilation, OH&S, and production) may however require from time to time a further expert view to make sure that the analysis of technology is relevant to the problem. The role of the ‘Champion’ remains intrinsic throughout this process as this person will be responsible to make sure that each department participates fully throughout the testing period.

The role of senior management in the committee is threefold. Firstly, management rely on the committee to provide solutions to mitigate DPM at all times, which enables Management to comply to their legislative requirement of “As low as reasonably practicable” (ALARP). Secondly, Management can understand and approve the financial resources required. Finally permanent presence of senior management will indicate to the workforce that management is taking this health risk seriously and is keeping up with the latest technologies to reduce the DPM exposures.

When it comes to DPM mitigation there are no silver bullets. This further highlights the importance of a wide range of participation on the DPM committee. However, the frequent change of personnel in the industry can complicate the efficiency of the DPM committee. Therefore, with representation of each department there will be a better chance of continuity within the committee. NIOSH acknowledged in their 2006 white paper that the implementation of DPM mitigating technology can be complicated. They further reported that this can be overcome by making sure that the people with the relevant skills and knowledge are represented on the committee. One of the roles of the committee is to learn how to properly identify the issue and set clear goals as how to resolve the issues. It was highlighted that where possible there needed to be an understanding of the size of the problem. Relevant in-mine data from the DPM monitoring system is needed to be collected at all times so as to identify how the implementation of the mitigating technology contributed toward the overall air quality within the mine.

Bugarski et al (2012) recommends that the committee sets two types of goals. Short term goals to keep the enthusiasm going and often very cost effective and long-term goals that require extensive evaluation and a cost benefit analysis. Bugarski et al (2012) identified the need to establish a hierarchy of controls that could serve as the roadmap to success of the DPM mitigation strategy. In their publication they identified that no two mines are equal and therefore the strategy required would have to be mine specific and that a DMC would be ideally placed to identify the right strategy for the mine. However, they alerted that regular failure will be common but that they are part of the overall plan. It is important that each trial of technology is properly recorded so that future endeavours don’t waste valuable resources or identify new technologies that can overcome the past failures.

 

Bibliography:

Bugarski, Aleksander D. (2012), Controlling exposure to diesel emissions in underground mines/by Aleksander D. Bugarski, Samuel J. Janisko, Emanuele G. Cauda, James D. Noll, and Steven E. Mischler, ed. Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc.

Mischler, Steven E., Colinet, Jay, F. (2009), Controlling and monitoring diesel emissions in underground mines in the United States, Mine Ventilation Proceedings of the Ninth International Mine Ventilation Congress, New Dehli, India, ed. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co Pty Ltd 2009, 2:879-888.

Schnakenberg, Jr., G.H. (2006), An integrated approach for managing diesel emissions controls for underground metal mines, 11th North American Min Ventilation Symposium, ed. Mutmansky and Ramani, pp 121-125.

Related posts

17 November 2021

Summary of DPM committee 101

Key points for a successful DPM committee (DPC)

Read article
17 November 2021

Hierarchy of Controls

Hierarchy of Controls for DPM management

Read article
7 October 2021

For those working at Pinssar – eliminating DPM exposure is more than a job.

Recognition of the threat DPM presents to workers has been escalating and can now been seen all around the world, Individuals, governments, and global companies alike are now more focused on zero harm which is driving improved so compliance

Read article

Read about efficient Diesel Management Committees will accelerate your DPM mitigation strategy

Highlighting the importance of Diesel Management Committees (DMC) in being the catalyst to introduce, test and review any DPM mitigating technologies or mitigating practices.

In Summary, the key points for a successful DPM committee (DPC) are:-

  • Management support and participation is crucial, particularly to:-
    • To comply with the legislative requirement of “As low as reasonably practicable” (ALARP), via solutions raised by the DPC.
    • Understand and approve the financial resources as required.
    • Provide an example to the workforce that management is taking this health risk seriously.
  • A management supported ‘DPM champion’ is required
    • The role of the ‘Champion’ remains intrinsic throughout this process as this person will be responsible to make sure that each department participates fully throughout the testing period
  • There is a need for a wide range of skills that no one person only can be expected to have. Involvement from various departments is needed, such as engine maintenance, ventilation, OH&S.
  • Management and the DPM Champion shall encourage all departments to pursue continuous improvement.
  • All decisions on mitigations should be made collaboratively with the committee.
  • An integrated approach to reduce DPM levels is not the task of a selected few but rather an all of mine approach.
  • Broadly the mitigation of DPM can be divided into engineering controls and administrative controls.
  • Establishment of a hierarchy of controls is a roadmap to success.
  • Two types of goals should be targeted.
    • Short term, cost-effective goals to keep the enthusiasm going
    • long-term goals that require extensive evaluation and a cost benefit analysis.
  • The strategy required is to be mine specific and the DMC will be ideally placed to identify the right strategy for the mine.
  • The DPC shall identify the issue, understand the size of the problem and set clear goals as how to resolve.
  • The DPC may require from time to time a further expert view to make sure that the analysis of technology is relevant to the problem. The conventional practice of Plan-Do-Check is the preferred method to trial new technologies.
    • An important part of this process requires continuous monitoring of the equipment as well as the environment to ascertain the success or otherwise of the new technology i.e., benchmarking before, during and after scenarios.
    • Relevant in-mine data is needed to be collected at all times so as to identify how the implementation of the mitigating technology contributed toward the overall air quality within the mine.
  • Allow for failure of trialled technologies as part of the overall plan. Past failures can lead to the discovery of new technologies
  • It is important that each trial of technology is properly recorded so that future endeavours don’t waste valuable resources.

Further reading

18 November 2021

Efficient Diesel Management Committees will accelerate your DPM mitigation strategy

Efficient Diesel Management Committees will accelerate your DPM mitigation strategy

Read article
17 November 2021

Hierarchy of Controls

Hierarchy of Controls for DPM management

Read article
4 August 2020

Have you got DPM on your agenda?

Each year around the world potentially hundreds of thousands of workers are being exposed to diesel particulate matter (DPM), putting them at serious increased risk of lung and bladder cancer.

Read article

Read about Successful DPM committee guidelines

Simple outline for DPM committee strategies.

HIERARCHY OF CONTROLS 

 The following information pertains to diesel reduction methods which site may choose to undertake.   

 Fixed Continuous Real-time monitoring is relevant to many of these strategies and actions.  

 Leading practice has shown customers who undertake these actions and strategies choose those controls that the business feels will have the greatest impact based on the lowest costs and easiest implementation. (these tend to differ by operation and region- I.e. higher performance – lower sulphur diesel fuels are not easily available in South Africa etc).  

Once a single specific control is chosen, it is recommended to monitor both before and after to establish the diesel emissions baseline for comparative analysis.  

Generally, a target diesel emissions baseline/ background level should be considered against the set OEL.  

Further, targets should be considered relative to the expenditure in terms of costs v time / effort. (i.e. low hanging fruit).  

This evaluation is an essential task in this process – and allows the operation to make informed value-added decisions.     

Should the benefits be regarded as minimal or underperforming, the business can pivot and undertake another strategy.  I.e. ‘Plan-Do-Measure-Adjust’ forms part of the overall policy 

It is also important not to overlap these activities as it makes the analysis difficult and actual individual consequential benefits harder to evaluate.   

And finally, it is highly recommended that all control strategies are undertaken with the support of key management, OH&S specialists and the results are evaluated by the Diesel Management Committee as a function of leading practice.  

Below is an example of the ‘hierarchy of controls’, the methods below are based on an example – however, there may by other methodologies and strategies available site can consider. A cost / benefit analysis is recommended. 

Hierarchy of Controls 1 pdf

A clearly laid out hierarchy of controls which to effectively manage DPM

Effective hierarchy of controls for DPM management

Further reading

18 November 2021

Efficient Diesel Management Committees will accelerate your DPM mitigation strategy

Efficient Diesel Management Committees will accelerate your DPM mitigation strategy

Read article
17 November 2021

Summary of DPM committee 101

Key points for a successful DPM committee (DPC)

Read article
13 September 2021

Immediate value with continuous monitoring

Within just three days of installing the Pinssar diesel monitoring solution, the value of continuously measuring diesel emissions became evident.

Read article

Tunnelling Journal – Pages 41 to 46 Click on this link to see article as published in Tunnelling Journal

Mitigating airborne contaminants in tunnel construction

Workers’ exposure to airborne contaminants is a fundamental health and safety issue in tunnel construction, and the importance of taking it seriously cannot be reiterated enough. With rapid advancements in DPM monitoring and dust collection technologies, however, the industry has the necessary tools to adequately monitor and control workers’ exposure to diesel fumes and dust. By Munesu Shoko   

Tunnels are created using tunnel boring machines (TBMs), sprayed concrete lining (SCL) processes and other tunnelling methods such as load & haul, supported by diesel plant operations. Each of these processes has the potential to expose workers to airborne contaminants that, if not adequately controlled, can lead to significant harm.

Lisa Andrews, Marketing and International Business Development at Grydale, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of a range of fixed and mobile industrial dust collection equipment, agrees, saying that tunnelling development produces high volumes of dust through different excavation processes such as roadheaders, drill & blast and spoil transition from TBMs. A critical aspect of any tunnel construction, she says, is ventilation design and dust control so that workers’ exposure to diesel fumes and dust is reduced to safe, acceptable levels.Silica or silicon dioxide, she adds, is a naturally occurring and widely abundant mineral that forms a major component of most rocks and soils. “New health and safety regulations specifically relating to the control of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) have been introduced to classify silica in the same bracket as asbestos. Many countries are now halving the workplace exposure limit (WEL) for RCS for an 8-hour time weighted average from 0,1 mg/m³ to 0,05 mg/m³,” explains Andrews. The risk of dust-related diseases, she adds, increases with exposure levels. Due to the high production volumes and enclosed workspaces, workers in underground operations have a higher risk of dust exposure. Management of dust within tunnel construction usually requires a hierarchy of control measures to be implemented, including the use of a dust scrubber (dust collector) and providing ventilation at the face through brattice wings or ducting.                                                                                                                                                                            “Direct dust extraction of the large amount of dust created in rock excavated at the tunnel face is the single most important process for controlling the risks from both respirable dust and RCS. Reducing the dust at the face through the use of a dust collector allows respiratory protection, effectively controlling the residual dust risks to workers,” she says. There are many types of ventilation design and dust control system and as each tunnel is unique, so is each ventilation design and dust control solution. Each ventilation system, says Andrews, has limitations in terms of dust control, with the selection of the system being dependent on geology, climate, tunnel dimensions, location/site access, construction method and sequence, targets to be achieved, cost of materials and ease of maintenance.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               “The three main factors that affect the typical volume of air flow required within the tunnel during construction works are airflow, diesel plant (type & kW) and people,” she says. “These factors all combine to determine what capacity of the ventilation/dust extraction system is required.”

DPM to the fore

With regards to DPM (diesel particulate matter), the new gold standard for regulator support is coming out of the UK following the release of the British Standards (BS 6164) that clearly state the dangers of diesel particulate matter. According to Stephen Griffiths, EMEA product champion for Occupational Health with the UK’s BSI national standards body, “construction has the largest burden of cancer among all industrial sectors”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     In 2012, Francois Velge, Managing Director at Pinssar, an Australian company that developed the world’s first real-time DPM monitoring system, the World Health Organisation declared diesel engine exhaust a Group 1 carcinogen. This is the same group as tobacco and asbestos. “Currently, diesel is still the main source of energy in all UK tunnel construction and fit-out projects and the industry does not see this changing dramatically in the near future,” he says. “Whatever the future may hold for diesel/electric powered equipment, workplaces need to be cognisant of protecting their workers against DPM exhaust today.” DPM – also referred to as diesel engine exhaust emissions or DEEE – is so fine that it can penetrate all natural human defenses such as the nose, throat and lungs, and enter the blood stream, and has the potential to cause life threatening illness and long-term health problems such as lung cancer, bladder cancer and heart conditions. A healthy workforce is an efficient workforce, Velge reiterates.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “The construction industry is already spending a significant amount of money to reduce its DPM exhaust emissions (e.g. by means of diesel particle filters), without necessarily understanding the size of the problem,” he says. “You can’t manage what you don’t monitor. Now, with the latest innovative technology, construction companies can deploy continuous real-time monitoring of diesel particulate matter to enable management of emission controls. This will protect the well-being of construction workers in the underground environment as well as the progress of any tunnelling project.”                 In addition to protecting workers, says Velge, an improved diesel management system can reduce the environmental impact, help achieve positive ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) outcomes and protect the community through building a healthier project.

Innovative solutions

The tunnel construction industry’s focus on the health and safety of its workers makes it well placed to adopt real-time DPM monitoring technology. Pinssar offers the world’s first (and only) continuous, real-time DPM monitoring system for harsh environments such as tunnelling construction. The low-maintenance, plug-and-play diesel monitoring system was specifically developed to provide diesel emissions data on a continuous, 24/7 basis. “Our innovative solution provides the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to monitoring DPM. It complements the existing point-in-time methods (tail-pipe, personal and hand-held) but provides more granular insights to enable timely action and prompt management of mitigating controls,” explains Velge.  The solution comprises a ruggedised, fixed, particle monitor called the Pinssar DPR which works continuously to collect DPM samples and send data in real time, and the Pinssar Dashboard, a configurable interface which records and displays samples from the Pinssar DPR, as well as internal diagnostics.  Additionally, the data captured by this flexible solution is compatible with the company’s control system architecture. This technology is said to be the world’s only enabling solution for integration with ventilation simulation software.                                                                                                                                      On the dust collection front, Grydale designs and manufactures a comprehensive range of mobile dust collection systems, available in diesel, electric or hybrid systems. A full range of mobility options is available, including the internationally patented Track Mounted units, Hydraulic Stepping Systems, Drag Skids, Trailer Mounted and Castor Wheel (towable) units. Grydale JMS M-Series dust collectors, explains Andrews, are complete dust collection systems that feature a centrifugal exhaust fan; dirty air intake; patented drop out box; high efficiency filters; reverse pulse filter cleaning system; dust discharge system; clean air exhaust and a fan silencer. All components are mounted on a single mobile base to create 6 m³/s to 60 m³/s (12 000 CFM – 125 000 CFM) of airflow.        Mobility, combined with compact integrated design, provides significant advantages on construction sites. Grydale holds international patents for manufacturing the only self-propelled (track mounted) mobile dust collector on the market. “These units can be transported easily and be operational in a short space of time with limited set up requirements,” explains Andrews. “Units don’t require long, expensive ducting to be constructed/installed. They can also be relocated easily during operation and be moved alongside dust generating equipment with ease. The single mobile base and compact footprint mean units take up less room on construction sites.” “The fact that our mobile dust collectors are complete dust extraction systems mounted on a single mobile skid is a key differentiator,” says Andrews. “It means that units can be quickly mobilised alongside the excavation equipment being utilised.” Meanwhile, electric and hybrid powered units feature a variable speed drive (VSD) which is used in conjunction with a velocity probe to regulate power consumption and achieve the air volume required. “We have seen savings of up to 60 kW per machine,” says Andrews.                                         A key benefit of Grydale’s diesel powered units is that they eliminate the need for an external power supply such as a mains connection or auxiliary power units, and feature variable air flow control to minimise fuel consumption. “Independent, certified air flow performance and filtration testing has been conducted both above and below ground as part of rigorous performance verification and certification processes. Results show a filtration collection efficiency of 99,99% at 0,067 micron to meet workplace health and safety regulations in a wide range of industries,” says Andrews.

Due to the innovative design, says Velge, the Pinssar system is the only solution worldwide which supports the requirements of the updated BS 6164 (2019). “The Pinssar particulate monitor was developed specifically to detect sub-800 nanometre particles which evolved into our patented diesel emission technology with 23 unique innovations recognised globally,” he says. The benefits of the Pinssar solution include an ability to influence and reduce worker exposure to acceptable levels of DPM and enabling tunnel construction companies to understand and make informed choices regarding ‘unseen’ air quality hazards. Reliability is a key attribute of this solution. It is a proven, ultra-low maintenance solution designed specifically for harsh environments. Its simplicity reduces the complexity of identifying the source of dangerous DPM levels. “With this solution, tunnelling contractors are able to establish and acknowledge DPM baseline trends for their environment and to establish long-term strategies for management. They are also able to prevent project downtime and substantiate DPM mitigation costs (filters, ventilation, and others),” he says. Connectivity is another big benefit of the Pinssar solution. Companies can collect configurable 24/7 data for approved users to enable smarter decisions and to move more tonnes safely. This data can be accessed by approved users on a number of different platforms, including mobile phones, desktop and laptop, SCADA systems etc. The secure nature of the system means that customers can protect their competitive advantage as all data remains proprietary to the owner. “The system is compatible with control system architecture and all ventilation simulation software/VoD (ventilation on demand). Meanwhile, real-time detection of changing DPM levels enables operations to rapidly manage controls and responses,” says Velge.                                                                                                                                              While Pinssar acknowledges the dangers of dust, the company has identified the need to focus specifically on diesel particulate matter, and is now deemed the leading expert when it comes to continuous monitoring of diesel emissions for harsh environments. Pinssar’s internationally respected views have been the catalyst for a much needed change in the industry and the advancement of DPM monitoring strategies. “As a trusted advisor, Pinssar assists when requested by customers to review and analyse the data and provide guidance for continuous improvement. We also have a global reach, with our product deployed across six continents,” says Velge. Pinssar’s solution was recognised with a “Highly Commended” rating in the category Innovation in Instrumentation and Monitoring during a London industry award ceremony.

Flagship projects

Pinssar’s DPM monitoring solution has established itself within the underground mining industry throughout the world and has been adopted as the preferred solution by some of the largest mining companies globally.  “The tunnel industry’s leading projects are now prescribing continuous, real-time DPM monitoring as a requirement to keep their workforces safe and healthy. A typical flagship project includes the early uptake by the progressive SMP4 joint venture for the TELT project, one of the most significant European tunnelling projects,” says Velge.

Grydales’s JMS M-Series dust collectors have been deployed on some flagship tunnelling projects around the world with great success. At the Rozelle Interchange, a group of underground tunnels connecting the M4 – M5 Link with adjacent roads in Sydney, NSW, a total of 31 JMS M-Series dust collectors was deployed for general ventilation and dust extraction at source during construction. Several JMS M-Series dust collectors were also deployed at the Sydney Metro, Australia’s largest public transport project. In 2024, Sydney will have 31 metro stations and more than 66 km of new metro rail, revolutionising the way Australia’s biggest city travels. By the end of the decade, the network will be expanded to include 46 stations and more than 113 km of world-class metro for Sydney. Elsewhere, Grydale has provided its dust collection solutions to the Metro Tunnel, a key rail infrastructure project currently under construction in Melbourne, Australia, that includes the construction of twin 9 km rail tunnels between South Kensington station and South Yarra with five new underground stations. While TBMs are being used to build most of the Metro Tunnel, station box excavation and tunnelling between the two CBD stations are being undertaken by roadheaders. The use of Grydale ventilation and dust control systems has resulted in a clean and safe work environment during construction, which has been monitored and approved by regulators to meet unionised working orders. Grydale has conducted independent air flow performance and filtration testing on all units both above and below ground as part of rigorous performance verification and certification processes. Testing undertaken has been certified by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) and units have shown a collection efficiency of 99,99% at 0,067 micron.

New trends

Commenting on some of the new trends in DPM monitoring, Velge notes that all around the world, governments and industry are reviewing their existing guidelines, which have been described as too broad. Those guidelines were established with a mix of theory and the technologies available at the time. “However, those previous technologies are unable to monitor DPM continuously within the dynamic work environment. They only take random, point-in-time samples which generally provide some pieces to the puzzle but never the full picture. The new technology addresses these shortfalls by providing a picture of the continuously changing underground environment in real time,” he says.

From a dust collection perspective, Andrews notes that there is a strong trend towards ‘dust extraction at source’ and the use of mobile dust collection units, located either within the main tunnel excavation area or mounted on the surface. Another notable trend in this field are the changes in dust discharge. To avoid secondary dusting, she says, dust is no longer simply discharged to the tunnel floor. To utilise ‘wet discharge’ (slurry augers), it is collected in bulker bags via side incline augers for removal from site. “There is also a big move towards ‘hybrid’ solutions to allow the most efficient use of power,” says Andrews. “We have also seen a big trend towards the use of VSDs to allow units to be more efficient – only generating the power required for that stage of construction.” On short tunnels and station excavations, she adds, large volume (40 – 60 m³/s) units can be located on the surface, with ducting erected to the excavation area for space proofing in the excavation area (reduction of plant in the excavation area).

The future

Given their successes in many flagship tunnel projects, Andrews predicts a strong future for mobile dust collectors, especially given the increasing regulations around the management of dust within tunnel construction. Velge is of the view that Pinssar’s DPM monitoring technology will enable jurisdictions around the world to follow on from the industry-leading BS 6164 standard.                      “World leading progressive companies are relying more and more on making timely data-driven decisions in their drive for continuous improvement in health and safety, and their ESG strategy for carbon reduction,” concludes Velge.

 

Related Posts

13 September 2021

Immediate value with continuous monitoring

Within just three days of installing the Pinssar diesel monitoring solution, the value of continuously measuring diesel emissions became evident.

Read article
14 January 2021

What is British Standard 6164

The latest edition of the British Standard 6164 (known as BS 6164) was released in October 2019. Learn how it is changing the way the Tunnelling and Construction industry is advancing with leading practice for monitoring diesel exhaust emissions.

Read article
14 September 2020

Pinssar making a difference globally

Pinssar’s latest CE certified units have been loaded up and are ready to get to work anywhere around the world.

Read article

Read about mitigating airbourne contmainants in tunnel construction

Learn about the importance of managing workers exposure to DPM and dust with advanced monitoring technologies

For those working at Pinssar – eliminating DPM exposure is more than a job.

After working for Pinssar for more than 5 years, travelling all over the world talking with and engaging our customers, peak bodies, and regulators, I must say, I’m now finally confident progressive companies are no longer putting profits before their health and safety obligations.

Ultimately, everyone at Pinssar is working to ensure Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) exposures doesn’t become yet another social disaster like lead based paints, coal dust or asbestos have been in the recent past. We also believe individuals, governments, and global companies alike are now more focused on zero harm which is driving improved social license compliance – so we are probably past the tipping point regarding this concern.

Recognition of the threat DPM presents to workers has been escalating and can now been seen all around the world, from tightening regulatory frameworks to companies deploying this technology to interested parties delivering white papers at conferences as well as in the messaging of peak bodies. For example, the Australian Cancer Council, state on the front page of their website, that “diesel engine exhaust emissions exposure is the second most common cancer-causing agent (carcinogen) affecting workers in this country – only behind ultraviolet radiation exposure”. Accordingly, in the absence of sunlight, this therefore makes it the most common cancer-causing agent in the underground working environment.

Ultimately, if you work in construction or mining or any other confined space where diesel engine exhaust emissions (DEEE) or Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM), (depending on where you live), are present you should now be aware of the potential dangers of excessive DPM exposures to your health.

DPM are the particles of microscopic material found in the exhaust of diesel engines including fine carbon particles to which hazardous chemicals called poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) adhere. Because DPM can act like a gas and stay airborne for long periods of time, it can penetrate deep into peoples’ lungs.

The threat has clearly been articulated to the industry’s most at risk as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO), via the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which declared DPM as carcinogenic to humans in 2012, placing it in the highest risk category, at the same risk level as asbestos.

Whilst globally the momentum to act in the best interests of workers has been steadily increasing, it has been regarded to be of significant enough concern in the UK, whereby the British Standard 6164 (known as BS 6164) was strengthened in October 2019, now providing a leading practice recommendation for continuous real-time DPM monitoring to be undertaken in all enclosed working environments associated with the construction industry. Clearly stating the dangers of DPM and the importance of monitoring it in continuous real-time by the construction industry.

This is now also having a significant impact on tunnelling and construction industries across the world as well as further influencing the mining sector.

The BS 6164 update states: “Exposure to diesel engine exhaust emissions should be controlled to prevent exposure to DPM. Primary control should be achieved by reducing emissions at source along with adequate ventilation. Until further guidance is issued by HSE, a limit value of 100 ug/m3 as a 15-minute time-weighted average, and measured as elemental carbon, should not be exceeded and “Real-time monitoring of DPM using light scattering technology should be considered, however appropriate correction factors should be applied to ensure differentiation between DPM and mineral dust along with aerosols in the tunnel environment. Analytical monitoring for DPM should be carried out in accordance with BS EN 14530. With a recommendation that “Continuous real time monitoring of DPM and dust should be undertaken as a continuous routine operation similarly to gaseous contaminants (see 16.1).”

Pinssar has been promoting the concept that robust, real-time continuous monitoring will enable responses to the presence of a group 1 carcinogen ensuring people are not being needlessly exposed whilst ensuring this world technology is no longer a “nice to have” but rather a “health and safety imperative.” It’s very encouraging to note that continuous real – time DPM monitoring has become an essential part of construction contracts. This will delivery benefits for existing workers and significantly improve outcomes for the next generation of workers entering the workforce.

At Pinssar we believe continuous DPM monitoring will save lives – there’s no denying it and ultimately, if the technology is globally available – why shouldn’t workers in harsh, confined spaces expect to be healthy and safe at home as well as work?

Pinssar has spent four years researching and developing a low-maintenance, durable DPM monitoring system, which is capable of measuring emissions in the critical sub-800 nanometre particle range, with key focus in the range most applicable to the particles in the post engine emissions or agglomeration phase in the ambient air working environment. The system was designed from the ground up to be a robust, ultra-low maintenance and practical tool to deliver DPM data to management in real time, via smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

The real time capabilities of the technology mean protecting the health of workers is now technically achievable. We have secured global patents with 23 recognised innovations and use laser light scattering photometry technology (LLS). Pinssar has managed to overcome previous issues with the technology in underground environments, while delivering real-time usable data to an above-ground server.

Previous technologies offered random spot checks via handheld monitors or personal gravimetric systems, which require off-site processing and analysis of samples. Whilst they are important and form part of the picture, it has meant workers are being exposed to unsafe conditions for up to six weeks while conventional test results are processed. Or, if unsafe conditions occur spasmodically, traditional random testing drastically increases the risk of missing significant exposure events.

The Pinssar DPR systems are operational across 6 continents, predominately in tunnel construction and mining sites, with operators reporting greater confidence in working conditions and feeling reassured they are working in a monitored and safer environment.

And whilst technology and people’s perceptions constantly change it is important to recognise that there is a current perception in the industry that the introduction of electric vehicle technology will solve this problem, after travelling the globe this past 5 years, it’s still very fair to say diesel powered equipment will be the predominant energy source for mobile equipment used in mining and construction for many years to come – electric power will continue to develop and if that’s a win for workers, then we are fully supportive – Pinssar is here and we will continue working to protect every breath because ultimately everyone deserves to be safe and healthy at work – and together – we will save lives.

Related Posts

18 February 2020

Changing the face of safety in South Africa

The South African mining industry’s focus on the health and safety of its workers makes it uniquely placed to adopt world best practice in the real-time monitoring of Diesel Particulate Matter in confined spaces.

Read article
13 August 2021

In the media: Australian Mining Review

Learn what Pinssar had to say to The Australian Mining Review, Technical Talk about monitoring diesel emissions underground.

Read article
27 January 2021

Pinssar granted US patent

Pinssar announces the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has officially granted a patent for their Particulate Matter Measuring invention. This allows Pinssar to protect the intellectual property of its diesel particulate reader in the United States and provides a platform for growing and protecting the brand in international markets.

Read article

Read about eliminating DPM exposure

Learn about how Pinssar is working to ensure Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) exposures doesn’t become yet another social disaster like lead based paints, coal dust or asbestos have been in the recent past.

First continuous DPM monitor in tunnelling provides immediate value

French based company Spie Batignolles TPCI, became the first tunnel constructor worldwide to monitor diesel particulate matter (DPM) on a continuous basis. Within three days of installing the Pinssar DPR, the value of continuously measuring diesel emissions became evident.

Project Background

The first tunnelling construction project to implement this health & safety initiative was the Turin–Lyon high-speed railway project, a project which is 270 km (170 mi)-long joining the cities of Turin and Lyon. TELT (Tunnel Euralpin Lyon Turin) is a French company founded in 2015 and is the binational public promoter responsible for the construction and management of the cross-border section of the Lyon-Turin mixed freight and passenger railway line. The cross-border area extends over a stretch of 65 km and is quite often referred to as the “TELT project”.

The Mont d’Ambin Base Tunnel is the main element of the TELT project which is currently under construction and at 57.5 kilometres (35.7 mi), will be one of the longest rail tunnels in the world. The twin-tunnel length comprises of 12.5 km in Italy and 45 km in France. This tunnel links the international stations of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Susa, which are the connection points to the railway lines in France and Italy and is due for completion in 2032.

After a first phase of activity between 2003 and 2010, the work resumed from 2015 for the excavation of the second descent. From summer 2016 until September 2019, the TBM Federica dug 9 km of the base tunnel known as the Saint Martin-la-Porte section, or SMP4. The construction of the 9 km-long tunnels, along with twin 1.5 km-long drill and blast sections, has made it possible to gain a better understanding of a geologically sensitive area in view of the final works.

Figure 1 – overview of Mont d’Ambin Base Tunnel, including SMP4 section

SMP4 Contractors

TELT, while maintaining the leadership of the SMP4 project, entrusted the work to a group of enterprises that includes six companies – three French and three Italian – specialising in public works, led by Spie Batignolles TPCI. Other companies in the joint consortium included Eiffage Génie Civil, Ghella, CMC di Ravenna, Cogéis and Sotrabas.

French based Spie Batignolles TPCI is a major player in the construction sector both domestically and globally and are seen as an innovative industry leader, as they continuously strive for improvement including the implementation of new technologies for positive and safe outcomes.

Risk Identified

In 2018, Health and Safety representatives at Spie Batignolles TPCI working on the SMP4 project anticipated that the 3km drill and blast section of the project may potentially produce an undesirable DPM load and therefore represented an unreasonable risk to workers.

The Challenge

Up until this point in time, the project had a monitoring regime which consisted of real-time fixed gases, monthly personal monitoring for crystalline silica and weekly air flow surveys.

Diesel emissions differ from gases and dust particles. DPM, sometimes referred to as DEEE (diesel engine exhaust emissions) are an aerosol. Whilst continuous gas and dust particulate monitors can be easily found, continuous real-time DPM monitoring has not previously been readily available. Current requirements for diesel monitoring systems include personal gravimetric devices, handheld monitors and above ground tail pipe testing – all of which do not provide a continuous picture of the ambient environment and are inefficient with some methods taking weeks before sample results are available.

Considering DPM exhaust monitoring had not yet been embarked on, the OH&S department set out to investigate the availability of DPM monitoring solutions. The department was keen to get an understanding of DPM in the ambient environment on an ongoing basis, just like they were getting for fixed gases. Traditionally, diesel particulate matter monitors were unable to monitor diesel fumes continuously, so the researchers looked further into what new technologies could be used. This research for potential suitable instrumentation led to the discovery of the Pinssar Diesel Particulate Reader (DPR).

Planning for implementation

The aim of the project was to understand the ambient DPM levels of the working area underground. The plan was based on the assumption that DPM levels would initially be above acceptable levels for the company and once the levels were understood, a DPM load reduction program would be implemented. The project lead coordinating the continuous DPM monitoring program, Mr Salvatore Maureddu, commented on the value of introducing continuous DPM monitoring.

“There is solid scientific research on the impact of the critical group 1 carcinogen to workers, notably in enclosed spaces. The World Health Organisation has also acknowledged and highlighted these impacts. Spie Batignolles believes work place health and safety is paramount to our core values and have identified diesel particle monitoring to be of importance. After extensive research we have partnered with Pinssar who are the only organisation worldwide who can offer the ability to continuously monitor levels in harsh work environments. By continuously monitoring DPM, Spie Batignolles is ensuring the health and safety of our employees and other contractors whilst working on this globally significant project.”

The Discovery Phase

The Reader was installed in December 2018 and immediately provided valuable data on DPM levels. The site undertook an initial 3 week monitoring program to establish the average base load.

Operations were halted for three days over the Christmas break, however the Pinssar DPR continued to monitor the underground environment and provide data back to the project owner.

Upon returning from the break and prior to works re-commencing, the DPR data was reviewed on the dashboard which showed an obvious difference when comparing the two periods of time, being pre-Christmas and during the break.

Figure 2 – dashboard leading up to and including Christmas break (13th to 26th Dec)

The data was further analysed and the “shift average” view was applied to understand the trendlines as well as to understand what the average was over each 24hr period.

The 24hr averages were summarised for the two periods:-

  • Period 1 (Dec 13th to Dec 24th), had a 24hr average of 180 μg/m3.
  • Period 2 (Dec 25th to Dec 26th), had a 24hr average of 10 μg/m3.

Figure 3 – 24hr averages leading up to and including Christmas break (13th to 26th Dec)

The Investigation Phase

After discovering and evaluating the pre-Christmas results, (averaging 180 μg/m3) compared to the Christmas break (averaging 10 μg/m3) the OH&S team presented the data to site management. The OH&S team concluded that the pre-Christmas levels were higher than anticipated and made a recommendation to launch an investigation.

Based on the data presented, management made a timely decision to support the recommendation.

The investigation began and the reason behind the higher than anticipated levels was soon discovered. The investigation quickly determined that the ventilation airflow parameters had been modified prior to Christmas.

Response to Investigation

Based on this finding, management instructed the team to revise the airflow parameters.

The results were immediate with the average DPM load exposure falling below the company’s desired 50 μg/m3 (0.05mg/m3).

The site acknowledged the immediate value provided by the Pinssar system. Management was satisfied that a data-driven decision could now be made which was not previously possible.

Further to this, the 24/7 monitoring of the operation validated the decision by management to adjust ventilation and ensure the health and safety of the workforce.

Figure 4 – both dashboard views (13th Dec to 3rd Jan) showing improvement post-Christmas

Adoption phase

Considering the technology provided immediate value, management and OH&S outlined a key initiative to continue baseline monitoring along with a business-wide focus on their DPM mitigating controls.

Following the initial investigation, the DPM levels were reduced to meet the upcoming EU diesel exhaust emission Directive. The EU standard (50 μg/m3 or 0.05mg/m3) was determined by the business to be a relevant occupational exceedance level (OEL).  Furthermore, continuous monitoring verified the achievement of company OELs when undertaking standard tasks.

The company also reviewed DPM levels for non-standard tasks, and applied procedures for PPE as part of their diesel management system.

Cultural change

Over a short period of time, the contractor began to rely on the data from the Pinssar DPR to drive their ventilation management, by either increasing or decreasing flow rates to maintain a healthy environment.

This data was used to show specific DPM data on a real-time dashboard and was also used to present graphical information in reports to management.

With the new data, site management were able to ‘visualise’ and see ’event-based data’ – which established credible correlation between site-based events and the DPM readings– ultimately this made all the difference to the risk owner.  The risk owner acknowledgment of this data driven approach has resulted in operational decisions being made based on real-time data every day since.

Operators are now also more cognisant of the risks associated with DPM and look to the data provided to remain confident the site is managing DPM on a continual basis, which has been a positive cultural change in the workforce.

Additional value

The site has since conducted other tests to identify how real-time monitoring can help with monitoring sub 800nm particles.

In March 2019 SMP4 identified welding underground not only contaminates the air around the welding station but the fumes travel a substantial distance and can potentially contaminate workers not directly involved with the welding process.

Whilst welding fumes essentially are almost gases the smoke from welding is made up of sub 800nm particles, which are detected by the Pinssar Reader and will alert passive workers that they too could be at risk. Considering smoke consists of a significant amount of sub 800nm particles, the detection of smoke is very evident on the dashboard and substantially different to the background DPM levels. Mr Salvatore Maureddu commented “You certainly can tell the difference between smoke and DPM on the dashboard” and then spoke about the additional value this provides the site, “As a direct result of the real-time monitoring program SMP4 has now changed our welding processes to ensure the health and safety of our workforce”.

Figure 5 – example of welding fume

The future

Pinssar acknowledges the significance of SMP4 being the first to adopt continuous real-time DPM monitoring in a tunnelling construction project.

The experience gained from the Pinssar DPR data has been communicated to the broader TELT project and it is anticipated continuous real-time DPM monitoring will become a mainstay throughout the entire construction phase and fit-out phase of the 53 km project, due for completion in 2032.

Interest from other tunnelling projects within Europe and the UK has increased, particularly with the revised BS 6164 which nominates continuous DPM monitoring.

Pinssar are global leaders when it comes to monitoring diesel particulate matter in harsh environments. If you are interested in finding out more about Pinssar’s solution and the benefits for your next project, contact us.

Related News

14 January 2021

What is British Standard 6164

The latest edition of the British Standard 6164 (known as BS 6164) was released in October 2019. Learn how it is changing the way the Tunnelling and Construction industry is advancing with leading practice for monitoring diesel exhaust emissions.

Read article
14 September 2020

Pinssar making a difference globally

Pinssar’s latest CE certified units have been loaded up and are ready to get to work anywhere around the world.

Read article
6 July 2021

Pinssar welcomes new BDM in Southern Europe

Expanding our global reach to Southern Europe, Pinssar are pleased to announce the appointment of our newest staff member.

Read article

Why monitor

Monitoring confined spaces for deadly diesel particulate matter has never been more critical.

In the media

The Australian Mining Review magazine recently approached Pinssar asking to help the industry better understand the dangers of diesel emissions and to explain how advances in technology can overcome these challenges.

According to the Australian Cancer Council, diesel engine exhaust emissions are the second most common cancer-causing agent impacting workers (ranking behind UV exposure).  However, as explained by Francois Velge, advancements in DPM monitoring technology means that practical and low maintenance diesel monitoring systems (purpose built for harsh environments) are now available and can go a long way towards protecting the health of millions of workers.

Francois goes on to explain that around the world, Government and industry are reviewing the existing guidelines which have been acknowledged as too broad, and really based on the technology that was available at that point in time.  For example, those previous technologies may only provide random, point in time samples – these provide only some pieces of the puzzle, but definitely not the full picture about the immediate risk in the work environment nor the impact on the health and safety of workers.

To read the full article, click here ->  AMR-August 2021 – Pinssar – The Invisible Guardian

To speak to Pinssar about diesel emissions monitoring at your workplace, contact us.

 

Related News

23 July 2022

A beginner’s guide to Diesel Particulate Matter

What is Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM)? Diesel Particulate Matter is the particles of microscopic material found in the exhaust of diesel engines. It includes fine carbon particles to which hazardous chemicals called poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) adhere.

Read article
4 August 2020

Have you got DPM on your agenda?

Each year around the world potentially hundreds of thousands of workers are being exposed to diesel particulate matter (DPM), putting them at serious increased risk of lung and bladder cancer.

Read article
14 September 2020

Pinssar making a difference globally

Pinssar’s latest CE certified units have been loaded up and are ready to get to work anywhere around the world.

Read article

Contact us

Want to get in touch?

A note of caution for our Tradies

It is estimated that approximately 6.5 percent of new cancer cases diagnosed in Australia every year are caused by workplace risk factors. This amounts to around 5000 workplace cancers every year. Tradies are among those who are most likely to be exposed to carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) while at work.

According to the Australian Cancer Council, diesel engine exhaust emissions are the second most common cancer-causing agent (carcinogen) affecting workers in this country – only behind ultraviolet radiation exposure. This therefore makes it the most common cancer-causing agent in the underground working environment.

The Council’s research suggests millions of Australian workers are exposed to diesel particulate matter (DPM) every year, increasing their risk of developing health problems, including various cancers and heart attacks.

Australian DPM specialist, Pinssar, says you can’t manage what you don’t monitor.  Understanding what you are dealing with and how to reliably monitor diesel emissions can go a long way to protecting millions of Australian workers.

To read the full article written by the Australian Cancer Council, click here.

To learn how Pinssar is helping protect workers around the world, contact us.

Related News

13 August 2021

In the media: Australian Mining Review

Learn what Pinssar had to say to The Australian Mining Review, Technical Talk about monitoring diesel emissions underground.

Read article
4 August 2020

Have you got DPM on your agenda?

Each year around the world potentially hundreds of thousands of workers are being exposed to diesel particulate matter (DPM), putting them at serious increased risk of lung and bladder cancer.

Read article
23 July 2022

A beginner’s guide to Diesel Particulate Matter

What is Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM)? Diesel Particulate Matter is the particles of microscopic material found in the exhaust of diesel engines. It includes fine carbon particles to which hazardous chemicals called poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) adhere.

Read article

Contact us

Want to learn more?

Pinssar welcomes new BDM in Southern Europe

Pinssar has welcomed their newest team member, Maïwen Bergé to the role of Business Development Manager for the Southern Europe region.

Maïwen is tasked with raising awareness of the negative effects of diesel emissions on the health of workers underground where emissions may not be sufficiently managed and will focus especially in infrastructure-intensive countries like France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland.

Maïwen has a background in the automotive industry, primarily as Key Account Manager for a major European brand, during the challenging ‘Dieselgate’ period.  She is a strong advocate for environmental solutions and upholds the belief that everyone deserves to be safe and healthy at work.

Built to withstand the harshest of operational conditions, Pinssar’s diesel particulate matter (DPM) monitoring solution helps companies protect the welfare of their workers by providing continuous air quality data in real-time.   A first of its kind, the Pinssar DPM solution can be customised for any workplace and environment, from tunnels, underground mines, ships, oil rigs, maintenance workshops or any confined space environment where diesel engine exhaust emissions present a serious health threat to workers.

You can click here to connect with Maïwen on Linkedin.

If you would like to understand more about Pinssar’s solution, please contact us.

Related News

16 February 2021

Pinssar announces UK distribution partner

Pinssar continues to expand its global reach with the appointment of RVT Group as Pinssar’s primary distributor in the UK. RVT Group is the ideal choice of partner and shares Pinssar’s mission to build a better world by building healthier workplaces.

Read article
14 September 2020

Pinssar making a difference globally

Pinssar’s latest CE certified units have been loaded up and are ready to get to work anywhere around the world.

Read article
19 December 2018

SMP4 partners with Pinssar to deliver tunnel safety system

French based company Spie Batignolles, a major player in the construction sector both domestically and globally, is the first tunnel constructor worldwide to monitor diesel particulate matter (DPM) on a continuous basis.

Read article

Contact us

Want to get in touch?