Mining Publication: Controlling Respirable Dust in Underground Coal Mines in the United States
As mining operations in the United States (US) have become more productive, controlling the dust exposure of mine workers has become more challenging. In response, US mining operations are applying basic controls at elevated levels and are looking to emerging control technologies in an effort to better control airborne respirable dust levels. The Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (PRL) of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts research to develop and/or improve control technologies that reduce the respirable dust exposure of workers in underground coal mines. The goals of this research involve optimizing the use of water sprays and ventilating air, as well as, evaluating emerging control technologies. An overview of dust controls typically utilized in underground US coal mines will be provided. An update on ongoing PRL research efforts that are evaluating new control technologies will also be presented.