Since we transship and store only coal and iron ore, EMO’s activities are not really a safety risk for the local environment. These bulk goods are not toxic or explosive. The coal is compressed, making it virtually impervious to oxygen [meaning it will not spontaneously burst into flames]. However, we constantly monitor the state and quality of stored coal.
The dust released at EMO is not dangerous. As opposed to particulate matter, EMO’s dust may be a nuisance, but it is not a public hazard. Particulate matter consists of small toxic particles released during incineration. These particles enter the lungs when we inhale. The particles EMO releases are relatively large and coarse and are stopped by the natural protection our body provides (nose and mucous membranes). The dust released despite our preventive measures is not toxic. Employees are not required to wear protective lung gear. EMO works on minimising the nuisance dust can cause. This is why sprinkler installations and sprinkler trucks continuously spray the area. Stored product is also covered by an innovative layer of cellulose, which prevents the wind from carrying dust particles.
In-house safety is also important. Relatively few incidents occur at EMO. This has to do with our cautious approach to work and quality in-house instruction and training. Working at EMO requires employees to act cautiously. Most employees work with large and heavy equipment in rough conditions, day and night. Irresponsible behaviour can lead to enormous risks. For this reason, employees are well equipped, well instructed and well trained. Protective equipment is always available and in certain situations mandatory. EMO informs its employees through various channels, such as toolbox meetings, where safety is on the agenda, and by using in-house communication tools such as the employee magazine and information campaigns. We invest an enormous amount of energy in this important subject so that we can limit the potential risk to an acceptable level. This is how EMO ensures that everyone returns home safely at the end of their shift.
That is why EMO has installed sprinklers all over the terminal. We keep dust under control with a fine spraying technique that uses relatively little water. EMO does everything it can to remove, wash and separate any product spilt in transit across the terminal, thus reducing the amount of dust dispersed. And especially by keeping our roads wet, EMO limits the clouds of dust that could be a nuisance to locals. We spray even when we are unloading to directly suppress the inevitable dust.
Besides these measures, all vehicles are required to go through the car wash before leaving the site to wash off the dust before they reach public roads and thereby stop dust from spreading outside the terminal. The rainwater the sprinkler trucks, installations and carwash use all comes from our complete water reclamation, storage and recycling system. After recycling, this water is stored in a basin so that we always have enough environmentally friendly water on tap.
Stored product can also be a source of dust. EMO has researched which methods help to suppress dust. Together with the Den Bakker company, EMO has developed a revolutionary method of covering stockpiles of coal. We seal in the dust by covering the stock with a protective wood pulp layer. EMO is the first company in the world to use this incredibly efficient method to suppress dust.
A number of measuring devices located on site determine whether our methods are actually effective. These devices measure the amount of dust particles in the air. EMO process operators have real-time access to this data and can respond swiftly if necessary.
The rollers, which support the transport conveyor belt system, generate noise. The 42-km long transport conveyor belt that connects the entire terminal has belts moving across numerous rollers. Over the past years we have checked and replaced all the old rollers all with quieter rollers. The new rollers make three times less noise than the old ones used to do.
EMO supports research into noise reduction, such as the project Geluid in Beeld (Focus on Noise). For more information please see www.geluidinbeeld.nl.