Diesel Exhaust Emissions – proposed Work Exposure Standard

Diesel Exhaust Emissions – proposed Work Exposure Standard

Introducion

Since its formation in 1927, the ACTU has been the peak trade union body in Australia. There is no other national confederation representing unions. For more than 90 years, the ACTU has played the leading role in advocating in the Fair Work Commission, and its statutory predecessors, for the improvement of employment conditions of employees. It has consulted with governments in the development of almost every legislative measure concerning employment conditions and trade union regulation over that period.

 The ACTU consists of affiliated unions and State and regional trades and labour councils. There are currently 39 ACTU affiliates. They have approximately 2 million members who are engaged across a broad spectrum of industries and occupations in the public and private sector.

Workplace exposures to Diesel Exhaust Emissions [DEE] are commonplace - mining, transport, retail and repair work [diesel mechanics] machine manufacturing, mineral and material extraction, quarrying, asphalt making and for individuals exposed to DEE from road traffic e.g. car park attendants, traffic controllers.

The ACTU does not support the Safe Work Australia’s assessment that there are insufficient data to recommend a suitable TWA.

The ACTU supports the adoption of a WES for DEE, based on elemental carbon, that allows a progressive reduction of the WES to a health based standard. Currently there is no WES for DEE therefore it is reasonable to adopt a phased in approach.

In 2011 Carey et al estimated that about 29% of male workers and 6% of female workers in Australia were exposed occupationally to DEE.

DEE is an important exposure in the Australian workplace and needs appropriate control to an exposure level that aims to protect workers from chronic and acute effects of exposure. Adoption of the SWA proposal will entrench the inactivity in controlling exposures to DEE.

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