Mining Publication: Evaluation of Dust Exposures Associated with Mist Drilling Technology for Roof Bolters
Overexposure to respirable dust remains a widespread health hazard to roof bolter occupations in underground coal mines. Recently implemented mist drilling technology was evaluated for its effectiveness in controlling respirable dust exposures for roof bolting personnel. This work presents the findings from NIOSH field and laboratory studies comparing respirable dust levels on mist drilling roof bolter machines to dust levels measured on machines using a conventional vacuum drilling system. Gravimetric and instantaneous respirable dust samples were collected for multiple drilling cycles. These dust measurements were used to assess the potential dust control capabilities relative to conventional drilling. Controlled laboratory tests found 0.3 mg/m3 more respirable dust with mist drilling than with the conventional vacuum method. A separate field investigation of the two techniques observed higher dust levels around the mist bolting machine.