Mining Publication: Dust Control Practices for Underground Coal Mining
Underground coal mining operations in the United States continue to increase productivity as mining equipment and practices are improved. Unfortunately, increased production also results in the potential for increased respirable dust generation and worker exposure. In response, US operations are applying basic controls at elevated levels and looking to emerging technologies in an effort to better control respirable dust levels. Ventilating air and water sprays remain the basis of dust control strategies for both longwall and continuous mining operations, and the level of application for these controls continues to increase. In addition, new technologies are emerging that have the potential to further reduce dust levels. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been conducting research into methods to optimize existing control technologies and evaluate emerging control technologies. This paper will summarize control technologies routinely being used in underground coal mine operations, as well as provide a review of new controls that are being pursued.