Dust Monitoring

Protect your workers and ensure your business’ regulatory compliance with our dust monitoring services.
Dependable dust level monitoring and dust exposure monitoring.

Dust Monitoring Service

Respirable & Inhalable Dust Monitoring

Dust can be a problem in almost every industry and workplace.

Workplace Health and Safety Regulations (2011) state that “a person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure that no person at the workplace is exposed to a substance or mixture in an airborne concentration that exceeds the exposure standard for the substance or mixture”.

The monitoring of dust levels in your workplace will help determine your workers exposure and your business’ compliance.

If your business activities generate airborne dust you should consider implementing high quality airborne dust monitoring program.

Dust monitoring allows measurement of your workers’ exposure to airborne dust. It will ensure that your business complies with Australian workplace health & safety regulations.

Our Airborne Dust Monitoring Service Includes:

  • Rigorously trained consultants holding the requisite competencies to undertake your respirable dust sampling & monitoring
  • Occupational Hygiene Consultants with a thorough understanding of the relevant Australian and industry specific standards by which dust exposure monitoring must be conducted
  • We only use fit for purpose dust monitoring equipment and devices, appropriately calibrated, which complies with the requirements of respective legislation in our dust risk assessments
  • A commitment to you, our client, to provide the highest levels of service possible

Workplace Dust Monitoring

We’ll make it simple for you to meet the regulatory requirements of inhalable and respirable dust for your business.  We understand the importance of managing airborne contaminants to ensure the safety and health of workers.

According to the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, it is mandatory for businesses to ensure that no person at the workplace is exposed to a substance or mixture in an airborne concentration that exceeds the exposure standard for the substance or mixture. 

Therefore, it is crucial for businesses to have a documented way of managing dust and a strict monitoring program to ensure dust exposure is kept to an acceptable level.

Exposure to harmful levels of airborne dust can lead to a range of diseases such as various types of pneumoconiosis, silicosis and lung cancers. The size, behaviour, toxicity and deposition of a dust particle will determine the disease process. 

Ensure the health of your workers, and the compliance of your business by having us conduct your airborne occupational dust monitoring and dust assessment.

So what exactly is respirable vs inhalable dust?  Below you’ll find a brief explanation of the difference between inhalable and respirable dust.

Respirable Dust Monitoring

What is respirable dust?  Respirable dust (particles typically <10 µm) are invisible under normal light and will stay airborne long after visible dust particles have settled. The extremely small particles can penetrate deep into areas of the lungs responsible for gas exchange causing a range of diseases.

Respirable & Inhalable Dust Monitoring

Inhalable Dust Monitoring

Inhalable dust (particles <100 µm) are visible dusts which enters the upper airways during inhalation. Inhalable dust can cause irritation to the mouth, nose, throat and upper respiratory tract. More serious effects can be seen if the particles contain toxic components such as heavy metals and some types of wood.


RCS is particularly harmful when inhaled. This is due to the nature of its crystalline structure which can cause inflammation and scarring of lung tissues. Lung diseases associated with RCS include silicosis, progressive massive fibrosis, COPD and lung cancer. If you’re looking a a reliable silica dust monitoring service we can help.

Why is dust monitoring important?

All airborne dust can be hazardous to your health.  Regardless of whether you need construction dust monitoring or dust measurement for your workshop, we have the experience and equipment required.

Dust particles can consist of material such as dirt, sand, micro-organisms and minerals which can enter the body via inhalation if the particles are airborne. Inhalation of airborne particles has the potential to cause lung disease.

Lung disease as a result of dust inhalation can take many years to develop and is irreversible.  The need to monitor dust in your workplace should be self evident.

Dust Measurement for Industry

To meet legal obligations, businesses must measure dust levels and document the results. The measurement of a worker’s health is legally required when the hazard has the potential to exceed exposure limits or when the level of risk from the hazard varies.

Our occupational health consultants have conducted hundreds of airborne contaminant surveys in various workplaces, including coal mines, metalliferous mines, quarries, sawmills, foundries and smelters, manufacturing facilities, cement plants, construction sites, and road and rail projects.

Still have questions about dust monitoring?

Our team provides dust measurement & dust exposure testing services to Australia’s largest employers. No matter the questions that you have about dust level monitoring and obtaining a dust monitoring report, we’re sure to be able to answer them.

Experience Breeds Confidence

Managing respirable crystalline silica dust exposure in construction and manufacturing of construction elements Code of Practice 2022

The Scope and application of the legislation

The code of practice is applicable to businesses and individuals involved in construction work and the manufacturing of construction materials on how to manage risks associated with exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS). RCS is a hazardous substance that can be found in materials such as cement, concrete, and bricks, and can become airborne during certain tasks. The Code applies to all workplaces covered by the WHS Act, where construction work or manufacturing of construction elements takes place. It covers tasks that involve using materials that contain 1% or more crystalline silica content and generate RCS or make RCS airborne. The Code does not cover the manufacturing of tools or plant for use in construction or the engineered and natural stone benchtop industry.

Workplace exposure standard for RCS (Respirable Crytalline Silica)

The workplace must ensure that no one is exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) above the workplace exposure standard. This means that materials containing 1% or more crystalline silica cannot be processed without controls in place to prevent RCS from getting into the air. Power tools that cut, crush, scabble, grind, saw, sand, or polish such materials must be avoided without water suppression. Additionally, free silica containing more than 1% crystalline silica is prohibited for abrasive blasting processes. Business owners should refer to the Abrasive blasting Code of Practice for further guidance on restrictions and controls.

Silica prohibitions in the workplace

Business owners have a responsibility to ensure their workers are not exposed to harmful levels of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) in the workplace. This can occur when cutting or processing materials containing 1% or more crystalline silica without proper controls in place. Therefore, uncontrolled dry cutting or processing of such materials is prohibited. Additionally, materials with more than 1% crystalline silica should not be used in abrasive blasting. Business owners should refer to the Abrasive Blasting Code of Practice for further information on restrictions and controls.

The practicalities of the new RCS Code of Practice and what it means for your business

The Code of Practice provides guidance for managing the risk of exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) in the workplace. If your work involves materials that contain 1% or more crystalline silica and creates dust that workers may be exposed to, you need to follow the steps outlined in the Code of Practice. If you are unsure whether your materials contain crystalline silica, refer to Section 5.1 for guidance. 

If your work involves construction or manufacturing of construction elements, you need to follow the controls outlined in the controls table (Appendix 4) to manage the risk of RCS exposure. If you are not using the controls, refer to Section 2.1 for guidance on how to implement them. If you are not sure what you need to do to manage the risk of RCS, refer to Section 2.2 for guidance. 

It is important to take steps to manage the risk of RCS exposure to protect the health and safety of workers in your workplace.

Other Relevant Dust Monitoring Legislation

Section 49 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 requires that anyone running a business or undertaking in a workplace must make sure that the concentration of any substance or mixture in the air does not exceed the exposure standard set for that substance or mixture.  This necessitates a well-documented dust management system and a stringent monitoring program that ensures compliance with statutory exposure standards. Such monitoring should determine the level of exposure to dust particles experienced by workers in the workplace.

Section 136 of the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Regulation 2001 says that monitoring or analysis should follow the relevant Australian or national standards.The Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation of 2001 says that Australian Standard AS 2985 must be used to check samples of respirable dust.As of January 1, 2017, it is a prescribed task under section 76(3)(a) of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 to sample respirable dust in a coal mine in accordance with AS 2985.Therefore, any individual conducting respirable dust sampling at a coal mine in accordance with AS 2985 must possess the recognised competencies as determined by the Coal Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee.

Since many respiratory diseases take a long time to show symptoms, it is important to limit workers’ exposure to dust particles. By doing regular personal monitoring, workers who may be at risk of getting respiratory diseases at work because of their jobs can be found. Because of how dangerous many respiratory diseases are and how long it takes for them to show symptoms, records of this monitoring need to be kept for at least 30 years. 

Dust Control Methods

The following information provides guidance on the essential factors that should be considered when developing a dust control strategy and the techniques that can be used to sample and analyse dust results. AS 2985 and AS 3640 provide guidance on the sampling of respirable and inhalable dust, respectively. Typically, a dust control strategy should include the following:

  • Developing a dust control program;
  • Monitoring and analysing airborne dust;
  • Implementing corrective measures to control the generation of dust and limit employee exposure to it when necessary;
  • Keeping records of results, especially personal exposure records.

Dust monitoring programs are crucial components of dust control strategies and should be designed to determine and evaluate the concentration of airborne dust in all workplaces and activities. Dust sampling results should accurately represent each person’s exposure to dust. The methods used to suppress or control dust in work areas are widespread and include the following:

  • Wet drilling, water mist drilling, and drilling with an exhaust system to remove and collect dust.
  • Proper ventilation of work areas, particularly important at dead ends (e.g. by providing dust-free air to the face).
  • Wetting muck piles during activities such as moving broken rock, loading trucks, or dumping into bins or stockpiles.
  • Using wheels or cutting compounds made of silicon carbide or aluminium oxide instead of sandstone (to reduce the amount of silica in the dust) and water sprays when using grinding wheels, sawing dimension stone, or core cutting.
  • Using wetting agents with water in selected processes.
  • Using clear water for sprays and mists.
  • Implementing total wet processes in crushing and screening plants.

Dust Monitoring and Recording

The Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants 2013 provides information on the maximum allowable concentration of various types of dust, including respirable dust, quartz-bearing dust, and asbestos dust. Dust can be generated during various stages of operations, necessitating workplaces to determine personal exposure and take necessary precautions to protect employee health. In such cases, a dust control strategy may be necessary. Airborne dust can originate from multiple sources, including wind action, earth-moving, vehicles and equipment, drilling, blasting, loading, dumping, feeding, crushing, screening, chutes, conveyors, transfer and discharge points, bins, stockpiles, dumps, loading points, and road transport. Dust monitoring programs should ensure a reasonable representation of dust exposure for given activities and the workplace. Such programs should be reviewed every two years, and necessary adjustments made if deemed inadequate for the intended purpose.

Standards for Dust Measurment in Mines

Fraction being measuredStandard
Respirable dustAS 2985 Workplace atmospheres – method for sampling and gravimetric determination of respirable dust (available from SAI Global)
Inhalable dustAS 3640 Workplace atmospheres – method for sampling and gravimetric determination of inhalable dust (available from SAI Global)
Crystalline silicaAS 2985 Workplace atmospheres – method for sampling and gravimetric determination of respirable dust (available from SAI Global)
LeadNational standard for the control of inorganic lead at work [NOHSC: 1012]
Other airborne dustsVarious
5 Sticks Occupational Hygienist