Sydney’s Regulations and Requirements for Dust Control in Construction Projects
Here’s a breakdown of the regulations and requirements for dust control in construction projects across Sydney and NSW.
NSW Dust Strategy
The NSW Dust Strategy was developed to provide a coordinated approach to the safe handling of hazardous dust, including asbestos, silica, wood and other types of dust to protect workers from illness, injury and death. By providing information about key prevention strategies, best practice advice and regulations, the strategy aimed to protect workers from hazardous dust exposure on construction sites and other worksites.
The Dust Strategy was based on three key principles that continue to guide hazardous dust regulations and requirements for construction sites across NSW:
- Identify the hazard,
- Handle it safely, and
- Dispose of it responsibly.
Beyond protecting your workers against all types of dust, it’s important to ensure you’re taking proactive steps to limit dust exposure to the surrounding environment and nearby public.
The NSW Dust Strategy was effective from 2020 to 2022, but construction sites still have to meet their obligations under the model work health and safety (WHS) laws. This includes the model WHS Act, the model WHS Regulations and the model Codes of Practice.
The model WHS Act
The model WHS Act forms the basis of the WHS Acts that have been rolled out across most jurisdictions in Australia, including NSW. The key aim of the Act is to provide a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces.
The model WHS Regulations
The model WHS Regulations set out specific requirements that support the duties listed in the model WHS Act. The regulations also define procedural or administrative requirements to support the model WHS Act. In NSW and Sydney, construction sites must comply with the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.
Model Codes of Practice
Model Codes of Practice serve as practical guides for meeting the health and safety standards outlined in the model WHS Act and Regulations.
For a model Code of Practice to have legal validity, it must be endorsed as a code of practice within a jurisdiction. To check whether a model Code of Practice has received approval in a specific jurisdiction, be sure to consult your local WHS regulator.
Once approved, a code of practice applies to individuals with a duty of care in the given circumstances detailed in the code. By adhering to the approved code of practice, you’re usually in compliance with health and safety duties detailed in the WHS Act and Regulations of a jurisdiction.
It’s important to note that, similar to regulations, codes of practice address specific issues and may not encompass all potential hazards or risks. If you’re responsible for upholding the relevant health and safety duties, you need to consider all risks associated with your construction site, extending beyond those covered by existing regulations and codes of practice.
When it comes to the WHS Regulations that apply to dust control in construction projects around NSW and Sydney, several different Codes of Practice apply to a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), including:
- The Construction Work Code of Practice,
- How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace Code of Practice, and
- Managing the Risks of Respirable Crystalline Silica from Engineered Stone in the Workplace Code of Practice to name a few.
You can find a full list of the NSW WHS Codes of Practice on the SafeWork NSW website.
Best practice dust safety controls
When managing dust on construction sites, it’s important to follow the hierarchy of controls. If you’re not able to eliminate the hazard from your workplace, the next step is to substitute the dust-producing product with something less hazardous so it carries a lower risk.
If this isn’t possible, the next course of action is to isolate workers and others from the source of the hazard. Using physical barriers, like cutting stations, helps to prevent contact and is considered the best practice for isolation controls.
It could also be worth considering using engineering controls to reduce the risk of exposure to dust. Dust control management solutions, like suppression cannons, dust collector vacuums and air scrubbers, are all designed to capture and manage hazardous dust.
Lastly, it’s important to implement administrative controls, including personal protective equipment and workplace policies, to provide additional protection to your construction workers.
Control dust with Control Hire
At Control Hire, we specialise in a wide range of dust control solutions for construction sites of all sizes. We offer dust filtration hire, dust management fan equipment, dust filtration, dust suppression hire, dust monitor hire and dust collection hire solutions. But don’t just take our word for it, read our case study to see how we assisted a Sydney-based client in controlling silica dust exposure at a commercial building worksite.
So, if you want to improve your site’s air quality while complying with environmental and health regulations and requirements, look no further than our dust suppression systems for hire.