Recently Coal Services delivered their annual Standing Dust Committee Regional Forums across NSW. AES were invited to present the latest technology in dust monitoring and how the new advances in real-time Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) detection could help protect workers from life threatening diseases like silicosis.

Other topics discussed at the forums, hosted in Singleton, Newcastle, Gunnedah, Wollongong and Mudgee, included updates on workplace dust exposure standards and monitoring data trends, and insights from health surveillance.

Over the 5 days, AES’ NSW Regional Sales Manager, Peter Richards, delivered a presentation to around 150 attendees including occupational health professionals, coal mine managers and supervisors and those working on site from all underground and open cut coal sites in NSW. AES were proud to be asked to be a part of the regional forums programme as Coal Services partner with industry to encourage the provision of a safe workplace and healthy workforce.

Coal Services is an industry owned organisation committed to providing preventative and responsive services and expertise to the NSW coal mining industry. Dedicated to working in partnership with customers and stakeholders to provide a suite of health, safety, environment and insurance solutions, these critical services support NSW coal mine workers, employers, and communities to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to maintaining a safe workplace and a healthy workforce.

The presentation slot gave AES a platform to show the Air XS, the latest and world-first technology providing real-time silica detection produced by our partners Trolex with the support of the Centre for Work Health and Safety.  The device was on display and a demonstration of the unit was provided. The presentation gave an overview of the ground-breaking technology used in the device which examines multiple detection parameters for RCS in real-time, including size, symmetry and a series of optical markers unique to RCS particles.

More information about the technology used in the Air XS can be found in the product brochure here.

The forums also provided a chance for those working in the field to ask questions. Some of these included; does the Air XS detect silica if other dust is present? How accurate is the Air XS? And why do I need real-time monitoring?  Answers to these questions are below.

Does the Air XS detect silica if other dust is present?

Yes, absolutely. The Air XS will differentiate crystalline materials from amorphous ones, which is realised in Breathe XS (the analytics software from Trolex) by showing both total dust and RCS counts. You can easily see how much airborne dust you have and how much of that dust is crystalline.

How accurate is the Air XS?

In independent laboratory tests and field trials, the Air XS has repeatedly demonstrated that it delivers results with +/-25% accuracy. The Air XS is brand new technology that  detects every sampled particle and analyses it to determine if it is a silica particle or not. We believe that in time it will become the new reference method for silica detection as its potential is only just beginning to be realised.

Why do I need real-time monitoring?

There are many reasons to deploy real-time monitoring: giving better protection to workers with instant alerts, improving the effectiveness of on-site surveys, rapidly developing the performance of ventilation, suppression or extraction systems, identifying process inefficiencies and ensuring regulatory compliance are just a few of them.  Often people know they have a problem with peak exposure of harmful dust through time-weighted averages. The problem often comes in identifying when and where that exposure

occurs.  Only with real-time data can you track exposure levels as they happen and make immediate impactful decisions on processes, procedures, and protection to successfully reduce the risk to people.

Peter Richards, Regional Sales Manager NSW, said “Being a part of Coal Services’ Standing Dust Committee Regional forums allowed us to update the knowledge of those working in coal mines about the latest technology available to help keep them safe.

“It also provided us with a platform to hear their concerns and questions about adopting this new technology and potentially what developments would help protect them further.”

Mark Shepherd, Coal Services Standing Dust Committee Chairman said, “The whole idea behind these annual forums is to get industry to work together to make a difference to the health and safety of our coal mine workers. The world-first technology of real-time silica monitoring certainly fits those criteria.”


If you would like more information on the Air XS, produced by our partners Trolex with the support of the Centre for Work Health and Safety, please visit here

NOTE: If you are a NSW business you may qualify for the government rebate of $1000 when you purchase your Air XS real-time silica monitor. Contact us for more details.