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Mining Project: Respirable Dust Control Methods on Continuous Mining Operations

Project DetailValue
Principal Investigator
  • John A. Organiscak, NIOSH, 412-386-6675
Start Date10/1/2010

This project will evaluate and improve control technologies to reduce dust exposures for operators of continuous mining and roof bolting equipment. These personnel are typically exposed to some of the highest dust concentrations in the underground mine environment.

Program Area
Keywordscoal mine dust, silica, underground mining

Research Summary

This project will develop and evaluate control technologies to reduce respirable dust exposures for operators of roof bolters and continuous mining machines. Results from the most recent Health surveillance data indicate that approximately 8% of the examined mine workers with at least 25 years of mining experience were diagnosed with Coal Worker Pneumoconiosis (CWP). Decreasing the number of respiratory illnesses in mine workers will be achieved by reducing health hazards in the workplace associated with CWP and silicosis.

This project aims to reduce the number of pneumoconiosis cases by 10%. The project consists of four tasks with the goal of reducing respirable dust exposure for underground coal workers who work on continuous mining operations.

  • Task 1-Analyze Redirected Scrubber Exhaust
  • Task 2-Improve Dust Suppression Techniques on Continuous Miners
  • Task 3-Evaluate Stand-Alone Dust Scrubbers
  • Task 4-Evaluate Dust Controls for Mining Cross-Cuts

Various research methodology and techniques will be used to achieve this goal. NIOSH researchers will work with OEM to improve existing engineering controls on machinery. Controlled laboratory studies will be performed under a variety of mining parameters to optimize performance of dust controls before introducing the technology for testing in underground conditions. Field surveys will be conducted to determine how current dust control methods can be improved.


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