Mining Publication: An Evaluation of Methods for Controlling Silica Dust Exposures on Roof Bolters
This paper examines methods for limiting occupational silica exposures for roof bolting personnel in underground coal mining. A canopy air curtain and an air tube were evaluated as means to provide filtered air over the breathing zone of these personnel. Laboratory testing showed that dust reductions beneath the air curtain and air tube approached 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively, with low interference air velocities. The data also showed that dust reductions were highest for positions closest to the device and that these levels decreased with distance. This paper also evaluates a metal rake, a flexible insert, and a rigid insert for cleaning the roof bolter dust collector box. Less dust was produced when using the rigid insert. Surprisingly, the flexible insert was sometimes no better than scraping or raking the dust onto the mine floor. However, little dust got on the coveralls when using either of the inserts.