Mining Publication: Reducing Enclosed Cab Drill Operator's Respirable Dust Exposure at Surface Coal Operation With a Retrofitted Filtration and Pressurization System
Many different types of mobile equipment used in surface coal mining utilize enclosed cabs to protect equipment operators. The overburden removal process is extremely dusty and can cause excessive exposure to respirable dust, especially crystalline silica. After equipment is used for years, many components of the enclosure deteriorate and its effectiveness is greatly reduced. This report discusses a cooperative research study performed on an Ingersoll Rand DM45E surface drill, retrofitted with a new Sigma pressurization and filtration system. Respirable dust concentrations were substantially reduced from 0.64 mg/m3 during pre-testing to 0.05 mg/m3 during post-testing with the new system, representing a 92% reduction in dust levels in the drill cab. This new system appears to be a very well-built and sturdy device, well-suited for the mining industry.