About dust and what causes it

Dust is a common air pollutant. Many different sources and activities generate dust, including: 

  • demolition of structures, such as buildings, sheds, towers, chimney stacks, silos and storage tanks 
  • excavating, stockpiling, handling and transferring materials
  • drilling and blasting
  • vehicle movements on unsealed roads and tracks
  • cement handling and batching
  • mining and quarrying
  • glass reprocessing
  • agricultural activities, such as ploughing and soil tilling.

When business and industries don’t manage dust, it can impact people’s health and the environment, including: 

  • people on your site
  • homes
  • aged care facilities
  • parks
  • waterways.

Dust’s impacts on the environment include:

  • damage to parks and outdoor recreation sites, impacting use and enjoyment
  • damage to plants and ecosystems
  • reduced visibility onsite and in nearby areas, which can lead to other hazards
  • poor water quality, and death of aquatic animals and plants due to waterway sedimentation

Businesses and industries that need to manage dust include:

Why eliminating or reducing dust is important

When you use a structured way to eliminate or reduce the risks of harm dust poses, it helps you: 

Failure to eliminate or reduce these risks could mean you face:

  • clean-up costs,
  • lost work time
  • legal fees
  • fines and criminal charges.

About dust and your duties

Businesses should make sure dust from their activities doesn’t harm human health or the environment. This includes being responsible for contractors or tradespeople you may hire.

You have obligations to: 

You may also need to meet specific conditions if your activity is a prescribed activity under the permissions scheme. This applies to businesses with a licence, permit or registration.

You should also check if you need to comply with any local council requirements.

Find out more about dust

Reviewed 15 July 2021