Mining Publication: Impact of Air Velocity and Support Advance on Shield-Generated Dust
Steady increases in longwall production have required operators to apply greater quantities of ventilating air in an effort to control and dilute respirable dust. Significant increases in shearer speeds necessitate that longwall supports also be advanced at a faster rate. Both of these factors may contribute to overall respirable dust levels on the longwall face because as supports are lowered and advanced, broken material falling from the top of the canopy is entrained directly into the air stream. To address this issue, the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory collected respirable dust samples from four longwall faces to characterize shield-generated dust. This paper investigates the influence of air velocity and shield advance rates on respirable dust levels. Also discussed are engineering controls currently used to reduce shield dust and alternative controls being investigated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).