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Mining Project: Noise Controls for Jumbo Drills Used in Metal/Nonmetal Mines

Principal Investigator
  • J. Shawn Peterson, NIOSH OMSHR, 412-386-4995
Start Date10/1/2013

To develop durable noise controls that reduce the noise exposure of jumbo drill operators and facilitate the commercialization of the controls to make them available for all miners.

Topic Area

Research Summary

This project has three research aims, as follows:

  1. Determine the most significant contributors to the noise generated by jumbo drills during operating conditions.
  2. Develop durable engineering noise controls for jumbo drills that focus on the most significant noise-generating mechanisms and reduce jumbo drill operator exposures.
  3. Facilitate the commercialization of the engineering noise controls developed for jumbo drills.

Jumbo drill operators are exposed to some of the highest noise levels in metal/nonmetal mining. In the worst cases, they can experience noise levels in excess of 120 dB(A). In such instances they are overexposed to noise in less than 10 minutes and are highly likely to incur permanent hearing loss.

This project seeks to develop noise controls that reduce exposure while not interfering with effective operation of the jumbo drill. Engineering noise controls will be developed to reduce the sound levels generated by jumbo drills. The effectiveness of these controls will be evaluated in a laboratory setting and also in an underground setting to assess the reduction in worker exposure. The goal is to reduce the noise exposure for jumbo drill operators and crew by at least 50 percent.

Noise controls will be designed, fabricated, installed, and implemented in NIOSH laboratories or rebuild shop. Sound level measurements will be performed to document the noise reduction achieved by the noise control package in the laboratory. Finally, sound level and durability tests will be conducted in an underground environment with those controls proven to be effective in the laboratory.

The impact of this research will be to reduce the likelihood and magnitude of hearing loss for jumbo drill operators. The amount of reduction will vary with operating conditions, but in many instances the noise controls will eliminate the overexposure of the operator.