Mining Publication: Determining Underground Roof Bolting Machine Operators Noise Exposure Using Laboratory Results
Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) data indicates that the roof bolting machine is third among all equipment and second among equipment in underground coal mining whose operators exceed the MSHA-PEL (Mine Safety and Health Administration-Permissible Exposure Limit). In response to this, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has conducted a study to reduce overexposures of noise to operators of roof bolting machines. An important segment of the research is to determine, characterize and measure sound power levels radiated by a roof bolting machine during different drilling configurations. The determined sound power levels generated during the drilling cycle are of major interest because the levels represent the overall sound power generated by the machine. These sound power levels, determined from laboratory tests, can be used to accurately assess the effectiveness of proposed controls for reducing noise exposure to roof bolting machine operators. By using the sound power level results obtained from the laboratory and a commercially available acoustical modeling package, a method for predicting sound pressure levels to roof bolting machine operators for differing drilling types and parameters could be determined. This paper provides a method for predicting sound pressure levels at the operator’s position of a roof bolting machine in an underground coal mine using sound power levels determined in the laboratory. To determine validity, underground coal mine data was also collected to compare predicted and measured sound pressure levels. The results of the predicted sound pressure level data were the same as the underground measured results. This research will provide the mining industry with a valid method for predicting a roof bolting machine operator’s noise dosage underground given any type of drilling configuration or drilling method utilized from laboratory testing.