Regulation of air quality in cabins for the mining, quarrying and construction sectors has increased over the past year, culminating in the recent release of ISO 23875 – Operator enclosures — Air quality control systems and air quality performance testing by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Earthworks, mining, vehicle traffic and windblown dust all combine to generate airborne particulates, which can be hazardous to human health. The recent halving of the workplace exposure standard has disrupted past assumptions and led businesses to reconsider their risk profiles. Therefore, it’s important to implement controls for managing worker exposure to airborne particulates when operating equipment and machinery from within a cabin. ISO 23875 has been developed to protect the health and wellbeing of personnel who work inside operator enclosures and includes provisions for real-time monitoring in cabins.

Workers should have consistent air quality when operating in a fixed or mobile operator enclosure. The Standard provides “requirements, best practices, and information to achieve sustained quality in the design, manufacture, performance testing, use, and maintenance of the operator enclosure air quality control system” and also provides recommendations for the management of air quality control and the control of airborne particulates.

Using cabin pressure to reduce exposure

As anticipated, ISO 23875 has introduced requirements for the monitoring of cabin pressure. By measuring air pressure inside versus outside of the cabin, you can determine how effective the cabin is at controlling airborne particulates from entering the cabin. This method can verify the control, replacing traditional subjective cabin testing with an objective, real-time solution that informs planned maintenance.

GCG has developed a real-time cabin pressure monitoring solution to support our clients in meeting their ISO 23875 obligations. Our solution involves placing a wireless sensor inside the cabin to measure differential pressure (inside and outside of the cabin). The sensors regularly feed data directly to the cloud over a cellular connection, providing real-time information (displayed in a dashboard) that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

Real-time information is useful for identifying risks as they’re occurring, identifying emerging trends and developing maintenance schedules. The solution also includes GCG specialists analysing the real-time data and providing insights to minimise the impact of maintenance.

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