Our client provides plant hire and maintenance services to a wide range of industries such as water, oil and gas, tunnelling, renewable energy and mining. They undertake a range of projects large and small, from sub-divisions to pipeline projects, and solar and wind farms right across the country. They have an extensive range of excavation equipment available to hire to contractors, including Vermeer Track Trenchers (T558, T955, T1055, T1255), Vermeer Surface Miners (T1255), Pile Drivers, Impact Hammers, Graders, and Tractors to service this wide range of projects. Their specialised equipment is highly efficient and generates significant operational efficiencies on construction projects.
Aura’ is a master planned community development being undertaken by Stockland at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, that started in 2015 and is currently the largest development of its kind in Australia. It will create 20,000 new homes over the next three decades and cover 24sqkm and become home to around 50,000 people on completion.
In 2023, our client was awarded a contract to excavate an area 100m long, 12m deep, as part of additional land clearance works. Within this section of land to be excavated, geological studies revealed heavy rock formations in the soil that would need to be churned prior to excavation. This made use of their Vermeer T1255 Surface Miners ideally suited pieces of equipment for the project.
The Vermeer T1255 can be used to conduct surface mining extraction; remove ground surfaces; or create a smooth, level area for site preparation, road construction or soil remediation with the T1255 Terrain Leveller chain drive attachment. The top-down cutting produces larger product sizes with less fines or more usable product. It also allows more horsepower to go towards cutting the rock and less into moving the tractor, resulting in greater productivity. The cutter drum is also wider than the tractor allowing a vertical wall to be cut.
The use of Surface Miners for is a highly efficient excavation methodology, however this equipment does create large volumes of dust which would be unacceptable on this project as works are located adjacent to the existing M1 highway. Without effective dust control excavation works could be shut down due to health and safety and environmental risks.
Health and Safety: Driving Demand for Dust Control
Dust needs to be controlled during above and below ground development works, as respirable dust poses a serious risk to the health and safety of workers, and / or an impact on the surrounding environment. Construction works are governed by regulations across Australia by the Environmental Protection Authorities established in each state, who administer legislation covering air and water quality, waste, contaminated land, noise, pesticides and hazardous waste. Safe Work Australia are also actively working on national policy to improve work health and safety (WHS) and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia.
Silica is one of the most abundant minerals found in the earth’s crust so there are significant risks during excavation, earth moving and plant operations. There is rising awareness of the impact of silica dust in Australia which is generated during mechanical processes such as cutting, drilling, grinding, or sawing natural stone that contains silica. The dust particles can be so small that they are not visible but are respirable.
Under the Workplace Health and Safety Act (WHS) Regulations any Person Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) have specific duties to manage the risks to health and safety when using, handling, generating and storing hazardous chemicals, including silica. They also have a duty to ensure the workplace exposure standard for Crystalline Silica is not exceeded and to provide health monitoring to workers.
Managing risks and worker exposure to silica can be achieved by selecting and implementing measure using the hierarchy of controls, including engineering controls that minimise the risk of exposure to generated dust, including the use of dust collection attachments. The workplace exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica that must not be exceeded 0.05mg/m3 (eight-hour time weighted average).
After calculating the necessary air volume needed to control the amount of dust being generated by the surface miners, it was established the JMS-20-MDT and JMS-30-MDT Mobile, Diesel, Track Dust Collectors could provide the power and versatility needed for this project.
Both units are mounted on a compact track base and can be operated via remote control and track alongside the surface miners. Using flexible ducting the JMS-20-MDT and JMS-30-MDT were connected to a hood and spiggot fabricated specifically for the surface miner allowing for dust extraction at the source.