Mining Publication: Lower Respirable Dust and Noise Exposure with an Open Structure Design
Many different types of structures and materials have been used to build mineral processing facilities over the past few decades. Although the structure type and building material were not viewed as significant factors affecting the health of employees in these facilities when they were built, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health performed an evaluation to determine to what extent building types could impact respirable dust and noise levels. This report discusses the evaluation of three different types of product sizing silica sand structures: a masonry design, a steel-sided design, and an open structure design. The data obtained in this study indicate that the open structure design (no walls) was superior from both a dust and noise (health) standpoint compared to the other two structures. The open structure design should also be beneficial from a cost standpoint because of lower material and construction costs. Companies and design engineers should consider this open design when building new mineral processing facilities in climates where it could be applicable. Some companies may also want to consider modifying existing structures with a more open design to further reduce dust and noise levels. As the trend continues in lowering allowable dust levels for federal health standards in the U.S. mining industry, the open structure design may be an approach for some companies to consider for their operations.