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Occupational Health & Safety

Visit Australia’s Centre of Dust Research Excellence

12 Jul 2016, by Informa Insights

Re-blog via  Australian Bulk Handling Review May/June 2016


Thirty minutes’ drive west of Brisbane’s CBD, the Queensland Government’s Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station (Simtars) at Redbank is home to world-class facilities that contribute towards preventing disasters, fatalities, lost-time injuries and occupational disease in industry.

Established 30 years ago as a business unit of Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Simtars works with industry locally and abroad to continuously improve health and safety through research, testing, engineering, scientific and training services.

As one of the country’s leading centres for mining health and safety research and development, Simtars currently has the only laboratory in Australia that is suitable for combustible dust testing, and works on many projects with national and international clients.

Simtars’ multi-disciplinary team of engineers, scientists, safety professionals and technical staff can deliver effective and practical solutions to meet industry needs.

Some examples of recent industry collaborations around broader explosibility and combustion issues include conducting research and development into mine inertisation, large-scale spontaneous combustion testing, and frictional ignition testing.

Explosive ability Simtars works closely with industry to investigate coal dust and methane explosion characteristics using its 30-metre blast propagation testing. An example of this is in testing and further developing explosion suppression techniques.

Simtars’ hi-tech labs can test various types of dust from the coal, manufacturing, allied services, food, pharmaceutical and general industries for explosion indices – using the Siwek 20L sphere; Minimum Ignition Energy – using the MIKE static spark device; and Minimum Ignition Temperature for dust clouds in the air, or dust layers in plant and equipment.


Simtars also provides advice on control measures for hazardous areas where combustible dusts may be present, and training services in managing site based risks.

Through its dedicated Mining Research and Development Centre (MRDC), Simtars delivers innovative research, consulting, and information services to enhance industry safety.

With combined experience in chemical process engineering, occupational hygiene, and research, testing and analysis of combustible dusts, the MRDC provides a comprehensive service to industry and government clients.

MRDC also delivers a wide range of research and investigation activities to support technological advancement in the resources industry.

Simtars’ work has an emphasis on frictional ignition, spontaneous combustion, instrumentation and communication, and mine emergency response.

The organisation can provide advice and guidance with regard to dusts across all industries. For coal mines, it provides occupational hygiene, environmental and stone dusting quality testing services. The unit conducts particle size analysis to inform mine operators of the medium particle size for stone and coal dust for explosion risk mitigation, and determines how much of the material is within the respirable dust range.

Dust Explosions Conference Simtars is supporting the Dust Explosions Conference 2016 to be held, 17–18 October at the Brisbane Novatel Hotel, and is offering a tour of its facilities to conference delegates – spaces are limited.

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