People and culture


Monitoring occupational hazards to ensure workplace safety

Underground mining and processing employees recently took part in the quarterly Occupational Hygiene Exposure Monitoring (OHEM) strategy, which saw representatives being fitted with personal exposure monitors for the duration of their shift. The personal exposure monitors measure occupational exposures to potential atmospheric hazards, such as diesel particulate matter, noise as well as inhalable and respirable particulates (including respirable crystalline silica).

The OHEM strategy at Fosterville Gold Mine forms part of the existing health, safety and environment management system. It allows for the collection of exposure monitoring data across the different work activities at the mine in a structured manner, in order to allow for effective identification of hazards to help guide risk management and control.

What occupational hygiene exposure hazards are monitored?

The following occupational hazards are monitored as part of Fosterville Gold Mine’s OHEM strategy:

  • Inhalable dust, including potential heavy metals.
  • Respirable dust, including respirable crystalline silica.
  • Diesel particulate matter.
  • Noise.
  • Whole body vibration (machine operators)

How does the OHEM strategy work?

The OHEM strategy has been implemented to collect data to help identify airborne occupational hygiene exposures in a consistent and meaningful manner across all surface and underground mining workgroups, while allowing for variances in the day-to-day activities of workers.

Every quarter, staff involved in a range of underground mining and surface activities are asked to wear personal exposure monitors for the duration of their shift. These monitors measure individuals’ exposure to the nominated parameters during their day-to-day activities and work environment.

What happens to the data that is gathered?

The data from the monitoring provides unbiased occupational hygiene exposure information, which is analysed and compiled into a summary report, detailing the findings and any recommendations for the ongoing control of identified hazards. The results from the OHEM strategy are then communicated to the monitoring participants, FGM’s Health and Safety representatives, and the broader workforce.

The quarterly monitoring information is entered into the historical database to develop baselines over time and assess compliance with Safe Work Australia Exposure Standards and Guidelines. The OHEM Strategy is reviewed periodically to ensure the program and recommendations remain current.

Fosterville Gold Mine is committed to maintaining the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees. The ongoing implementation of the OHEM strategy is just one aspect of this commitment.