e-Waste Recycling Process Development and Control, NGO : Australia and New Zealand

ChepENV is a strong advocate of Product Stewardship. It is simply no longer good enough for a product to be sold without any consideration for its end of life fate or the impacts it may have to people and the environment along the way. The planet simply cannot sustain our current attitudes to poor longevity and cheap replacement and waste disposal costs. Product stewardship is an environmental management strategy that means whoever designs, produces, sells, or uses a product takes a share of responsibility for minimising its environmental impact through all lifecycle stages – from the point of sale right through to the eventual recycling or disposal of non-recyclable parts. The concept is twofold – firstly to reduce the amount of non-recyclable materials used, and secondly to ensure maximum recovery of recyclable or reusable materials. Recovery of recyclable materials is not a straight-forward affair in terms of environmental and worker exposure risks, but it does represent one of the most promising opportunities to reduce our footprint on the planet's rare earth resources and enhance sophistication of industries in all countries regardless of perceived development level.

ChepENV is working with various NGO and waste recyclers with emerging Product Stewardship programs to assist the design and processing of recyclable waste facilities by evaluating, measuring, and assessing environmental and worker exposures to key hazards such as noise, vibration, dust, gas and vapour, lead, mercury and other heavy metals, PCBs, hydrocarbons and chemical residues that may be released during the recycling process. This work applies to ALL industries, but is best is predicated by the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS) which was established in 2011 to provide Australian households and small businesses with access to free industry-funded collection and recycling services for televisions and computers, including printers, computer parts and peripherals. The Product Stewardship (Televisions and Computers) Regulations 2011 provide the legislative framework for the scheme.

 Chemical Risk, Handling and Storage Assessment, USA Chemical Manufacturer: Australia and New Zealand

Assessment and management of key risks including chemical handling and storage, noise, heat stress, explosive vapours, confined spaces, fumes and dust. The project involved establishing a testing and assessment process for the client’s range of compounding and reaction based polymerising plants in Australia and New Zealand. The outcome established key baseline data and enable improvements to be implemented as a company-wide initiative through to the overarching organisation in the USA. The project involved consideration of numerous regulatory and environmental frameworks.  

Iron Ore Transhipment Project, SINO Iron: Western Australia

Technical direction, design, assessment and compliance monitoring for dust exposure control for crew working on the shipment of magnetite iron ore from Cape Preston wharf to anchored “capsize” ships offshore. This project is ongoing and includes a number of phases such as the initial analyses of iron product and mineralogy assessment, identification of risk phases where worker exposures to hazardous dust could occur and the design input into construction of purpose-built barges and transhippers. The key hazards included inhalable dust, respirable dust,  respirable crystalline silica and respirable fibrous minerals, noise, vibration and indoor air and potable water quality. The outcome has been the successful establishment and implementation of a management plan for each hazard and ongoing monitoring to measure and assure compliance. Also included in the program is detailed PPE management, worker training, respiratory fit testing, audiometric testing and medical surveillance.

Risk Survey: Petornas/Murphy Oil: South China Sea, Malaysia

Development and implementation of assessment programs for key hazards including asbestos and hazardous materials, heat stress and noise risk on the operational floating, production, storage and offloading units (FPSO) Kikeh and Falcon while operating in the South China Sea offshore Malaysia. The project expanded to indoor air quality and HVAC system optimisation on these ageing assets to maximise crew comfort and productivity. The ability to properly grasp the client's operational needs and then slot seemlessly into the on-board culture to achieve the desired outcome is what set ChepENV apart from others who had previosuly tried to deliver this particular project.

 Compliance Assessment prior to importation: COSCO Shipyard, China

Survey, testing and assessment of key hazardous materials, noise and dust mitigation systems installed to two bulk cement carrying ships for comparison with contractual delivery obligations and ultimately the suitability to operate in Australian waters. Any contractual non-compliances were also able to be rectified by the builder beofre practical completion and before final commercial settlement and liability handover. This work built on previously successfully delivered projects conducted for similar clients elsewhere in China, as well as in Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The successful execution of these  projects enabled the client in each case to import the vessels to Australia and commence local operation without the delay due to customs restrictions or regulatory non-compliance concerns.

Vapour Risk Mitigation Program, National Oilwell Varcoe: Australia and New Zealand

Identification and management of gas, hydrocarbon and VOC vapours. National Oilwell Varco is an American multinational corporation based in Houston, Texas. It is a leading worldwide provider of equipment and components used in oil and gas drilling and production operations, oilfield services, and supply chain integration services to the upstream oil and gas industry. This project involved identifying and assessing hazards in greenfield site establishments in Mt Isa, Kalgoorlie, Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland on behalf of the US parent company. Improvements established included the implementation of key SOPs, hazard management plans and training for staff to attain compliance with local regulatory requirements and the company management systems housed in the USA

Dust, Noise, Vibration and Exhaust Hazard Monitoring Program, Nationawide Quarry Operator: Australia

Assessment of worker’s exposures to respirable crystalline silica, inhalable dust, noise and asbestos at quarry operations across Victoria, Act and South Australia. This program involved a lot of regionally located sites and included respirator fit testing. Additional assessments including environmental noise and dust and confined space monitoring has also be undertaken. The program has been serviced and adapted throughout successive client ownership changes and is considered a benchmark of the quarrying industry. Smaller partner quarries as well as reinforced cement product manufacturers have also been included in this program over the years

Noise/Vibration IMO Compliance Certification, Holland America: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Singapore, Indonesia 

Assessment and monitoring of IMO, US and UK noise/vibration compliance across a fleet of cruise ships. The project enabled the vessel operators to provide safe workplaces for upwards of 1200 crew across a range of professions including Engineers, Catering, Housekeeping, Hotel, Navigation and Entertainment areas. Key outcomes delivered were a functional hearing protection plan for Technical Crew (Engineers) who regularly spend in excess of 4 hours continuously working in engine room environments upwards of 100 dB(A). Also accounted for were workers in marginal exposure occupations such as catering and laundry areas. Most interestingly, and particularly complex was to establish a management program for entertainment staff who work in areas where noise levels are unpredicatble, such as the vessel's bars, clubs and disco's. The complexity of long duration swings, split shifts and secondary exposures made this project particularly challenging for the client.  

"W" Project Concept Design: Pilbara, Western Australia

Technically still a little bit top secret - this is a Concept Study regarding potential remediation of the Wittenoom and Yampire Gorges former asbestos mine sites to eventually enable the handing back of the area to traditional landowners. The sites represent the worst industrial disaster in Australian history and have remained largely untouched since the late 1960s. 

Approximately 3 million tonnes of tailings remain in the Wittenoom and Colonial Gorges, as well as other contaminated material used in the old Settlement, Townsite and Airstrip. Some further tailings also remain in the nearby Yampire Gorge. Estimates place the amount of contaminant blue asbestos in the tailings at around 5% by weight, meaning that about 120,000 to 140,000 tonnes of blue asbestos fibres remain. Over time this material is blown and washed down the Gorges and into the Fortescue River flood plain. Eventually it will reach the sea.  Our ambition is to demonstrate that the tailings can be effectively treated and removed, restoring the land to it's true glory.

Upstream Gas Production Integration Project: Australia and New Zealand

Following the acquisition of a number of assets including two gas platforms in Victoria’s Bass Strait, and gas refineries located in eastern and western Victoria, Western Australia and New Zealand, this project involved the integration of existing HSE systems with the new owner’s business systems. The project ran for a total of around 5 years and included the review of complex management and quality systems, followed by the revision and re-implementation across the business.  The work involved extensive periods conducting testing and monitoring programs offshore in Bass Strait, as well as scheduled programs onshore during both operational and shutdown phases of the gas refineries. Key hazards included benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, methane, mercury, naturally occurring radioactive material, noise, vibration, indoor air quality, potable water systems, biohazards and amine scrubbing/flaring processes.

Coal Dust Exposure Testing: Gladstone, Australia

Measurement of coal dust exposure and risk mitigation for tugboat crews working in the coal terminal areas at the Port of Gladstone.  The project centred around an alarming re-emergence of "Black lung" or coal miners disease - caused by exposure to coal dust and it's varous contaminats such as crystalline silica. This project assisted the tug operator to continue working unhindered at a time when the State Regulators implemented an array of additional compliance measures for workers involved in more downstream areas of the Queensland coal mining industry. The successful operation of the tugs in this difficult enviroment continues to this day. 

Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) Survey

Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM): Hazardous materials assessments of two end-of-life bulk cargo ships prior to delivery to “green” recycling yards. These assessments were conducted in accordance with the Hong Kong Convention for Safe Recycling of Ships for clients who required the best practice approach to managing the legacy risk of hazards used in their fleets. ChepENV was the first Australian business that could provide this service at the time and developed a program of assessment in collaboration with various stakeholders. This was the seed for delivery of this high-level service in Australia. Similar smaller scale projects have been undertaken for decommissioning of other offshore marine assets since.

Fertiliser Toxicological Risk Assessment: Gippsland, Victoria 

Assessment of the risk presented by the compounding and spraying of various fertiliser products across a range of operations throughout the Gippsland agriculture belt. This project was established in the aftermath of the Monsanto glyphosate legal case in the US when it was determined that the use of this and other similar products was most likely carcinogenic to farmers and operators. The client in this case was a nationwide compounder and supplier of various potentially toxic products, and our input provide a clear pathway to assessing and managing the risks for both employees and farmers. Modification to some blending and batching equipment assisted in reducing the risks and our periodic presence in the paddocks and crop fields provided the local agriculture community a great deal of comfort and the ability to ask questions and share their concerns. 

Hazardous Materials Strategic Management: Energy New Zealand 

Documentation of hazardous materials use across assets operated by hydro, geothermal and thermal power plants across New Zealand. Assets included power stations, agricultural properties, transmission terminals and systems and corporate offices.  Following completion of the assessment program, project management was completed for the successful remediation of several key assets which were ageing and in need of clear documentation of the location of hazardous materials. 

Assessments at some sites required the verification of historical dumping and burial grounds for asbestos waste, management of hydrogen sulphide geothermal gases and signiifcant community concerns and political aspects.

Lead Mining Risk Assessment, Northern Territory/Queensland 

Assessment of lead, zinc and carbon disulphide exposure for environmental and occupational health concerns associated with the transhipment operations operating from the port of Bing Bong (McArthur River mine NT) and Karumba (Century mine QLD). The work involved work onshore at the ship loading terminal and offshore at the discharge point, enabling understanding of risk and establishment of baseline monitoring and protection/control measures to be implemented. Major modifications were required to the vessels due to inadequate segregation of hazard zones and accommodation spaces which resulted in elevated blood lead levels in transhippment workers which was evidenced during the project.  

Caravan / RV Safety Testing and Certification, Melbourne 

Assessment and safety assurance for the use of gas burning water heaters installed to a number of new Caravan and R/V designs.

The recent rapid advancement of Caravan and R/V designs and equipment has led to increased use of comfort features such as hot water, diesel heating, air conditioning and complex power management systems. Placed into a very confined vehicvle this can be a recipe for disaster if not well thought trhough.  

The project aimed to ensure that the equipment installations, exhausts and  venting systems did not present a gas asphyxiation, fire or explosion risk to occupants during foreseeable and extreme use scenarios. The project contributed to the now industry-standard fitment of carbon monoxide monitors in most Caravans and R/Vs on the market today. 

Bauxite "B" Project Concept Design, Weipa Queensland 

This is a greenfield development in which ChepENV is assisting with design and specification of a dustless ship loading and transhipping concept for Bauxite export. This work builds on previously successfully delivered projects conducted for the same client on Iron Ore projects in South Australia and Western Australia and demonstrates our abilities in concept and feasibility study. These projects can take years to mature but as they say - a dollar spent now, in time saves nine!