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Open AccessArticle

Platinum Mine Workers’ Exposure to Dust Particles Emitted at Mine Waste Rock Crusher Plants in Limpopo, South Africa

1
Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Cnr Sherwell and Beit Street, John Orr Building, 7th Floor, Doornfontein Campus, Doornfontein, Johannesburg 2094, South Africa
2
Environment and Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Johannesburg 2094, South Africa
3
School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 001, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020655
Received: 24 November 2019 / Revised: 23 December 2019 / Accepted: 23 December 2019 / Published: 19 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Respiratory Health)
The South African mining industry is one of the largest producers of platinum (Pt) in the world. Workers in this industry are exposed to significant amounts of dust, and this dust consists of particles sizes that can penetrate deep inside the respiratory region. A cross-sectional study was conducted to evaluate dust exposure risk at two Pt mine waste rock crusher plants (Facility A and B) in Limpopo, South Africa. Workers’ demographic and occupational information was collected through a structured questionnaire, a walk-through observation on facilities’ processes, and static dust sampling for the collection of inhalable and respirable dust particles using the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOH) 7602 and the Methods for Determination of Hazardous Substance (MDHS) 14/4 as guidelines. Only 79% of Pt mine workers, used their respiratory protective equipment (RPE), sixty-five percent were exposed to work shifts exceeding the recommended eight hours and 8.8% had been employed for more than ten years. The mean time-weighted average (TWA) dust concentrations between Facility A and B showed a significant difference (p < 0.026). The Pt mine’s inhalable concentrations (range 0.03–2.2 mg/m3) were higher than the respirable concentrations (range 0.02–0.7 mg/m3), however were all below the respective international and local occupational exposure limits (OELs). The Pt mine’s respirable crystalline silica (SiO2) quartz levels were all found below the detectable limit (<0.01 mg/m3). The Pt miners had increased health risks due to accumulated low levels of dust exposure and lack of usage of RPE. It is recommended that an improved dust control program be put in place which includes, but is not limited to, stockpile enclosures, tire stops with water sprays, and education on the importance of RPE usage. View Full-Text
Keywords: South Africa; platinum mining; crusher plants; dust; inhalable; respirable; risk assessment South Africa; platinum mining; crusher plants; dust; inhalable; respirable; risk assessment
MDPI and ACS Style

Sepadi, M.M.; Chadyiwa, M.; Nkosi, V. Platinum Mine Workers’ Exposure to Dust Particles Emitted at Mine Waste Rock Crusher Plants in Limpopo, South Africa. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 655. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020655

AMA Style

Sepadi MM, Chadyiwa M, Nkosi V. Platinum Mine Workers’ Exposure to Dust Particles Emitted at Mine Waste Rock Crusher Plants in Limpopo, South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(2):655. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020655

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sepadi, Maasago M.; Chadyiwa, Martha; Nkosi, Vusumuzi. 2020. "Platinum Mine Workers’ Exposure to Dust Particles Emitted at Mine Waste Rock Crusher Plants in Limpopo, South Africa" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 2: 655. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020655

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