Synthetic chemicals used in mining operations: a proposed risk management framework

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Title: Synthetic chemicals used in mining operations: a proposed risk management framework
Authors: Singh, Khareen Alexandria
Item Type: Thesis or dissertation
Abstract: There is increasing scientific and public concern about chemicals in the environment and in particular those that pose a risk to human health. As a result, there is increasing pressure for industries to reduce risks and comply with emerging chemical legislations, such as the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). The mining industry relies heavily on the use of chemicals having a large range with a variety of hazards and exposures. Several screening and risk assessment procedures were evaluated to determine their appropriateness to the mining industry. This PhD aimed to assist the mining industry by proposing a framework that integrated hazard and exposure assessments into a numerical ranking and evaluation of individual chemicals and workspaces. This was developed by collecting and evaluating data on the hazards and exposures of chemicals across copper, platinum and coal mining operations. The hazard identification procedure showed that 9% (76 out of 850) of chemicals had ingredients that could be classified as known or suspected carcinogens, mutagens and/or reproductive toxins, laboratories on mine sites having the highest number of chemicals with severe hazardous properties (Carcinogenic, Mutagenic, Reproductive toxin (CMR) and/or fatal/and/ or very toxic to aquatic life). An exposure assessment was proposed that used onsite observations to define and tailor the exposure categories for the mining industry and to define the workspaces in terms of the exposure controls and chemical management measures. Findings demonstrated that 24% of the 850 chemicals were classified as being of potential high risk of harm, with 3% (27) prioritised for immediate management. This was validated by comparing the results with established hazard classifications. All of the workspaces investigated had insufficient safety and/or exposure controls to accommodate the hazards of the typical chemicals used. This workspace-based framework is a dynamic system that manages the chemicals in current use, but is also a wide scoping system to include measures in place for future chemicals introduced into workspaces.
Content Version: Open Access
Issue Date: Dec-2013
Date Awarded: Sep-2014
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/39796
Supervisor: Voulvoulis, Nikolaos
Plant, Jane
Sponsor/Funder: Anglo American (Firm)
Department: Centre for Environmental Policy
Publisher: Imperial College London
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Qualification Name: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy PhD theses



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