Mining Publication: An Overview of Fundamental and Emerging Technologies to Monitor and Control Respirable Dust in Underground Coal Mines in the United States
As production levels continue to increase in underground coal operations in the United States, greater quantities of respirable dust arc generated with the potential to increase worker exposure. Ventilating air and water spray systems continue to be the primary means of controlling respirable dust for both continuous mining and longwall mining operations. Mine operators are applying these fundamental control technologies at elevated levels and are looking to new and emerging control technologies to better control respirable dust. New monitoring technologies are also being developed to improve the real-time measurement of worker dust exposure; so that corrective action can be taken before workers become overexposed. The Pittsburgh Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts research to develop and improve control technologies and monitoring instrumentation that can be used to reduce the respirable dust exposure of mine workers. An overview of fundamental dust controls technologies being utilized in underground US coal mines will be presented. Also, updates on emerging technologies such as the personal dust monitor (PDM), wet head spray technology for continuous miners, and a roof bolter canopy air curtain will be provided.