Mining Publication: Performance of a New Personal Respirable Dust Monitor for Mine Use
A personal dust monitor (PDM) was developed to measure respirable coal mine dust mass to provide accurate exposure data at the end of a work shift. Additionally, the new monitor continuously displays near-real-time dust exposure data during the shift. The PDM uses a tapered-element oscillating microbalance to measure the mass of dust deposited on a filter and continually displays the cumulative exposure concentration data. The accuracy and precision of the instrument was determined by comparison to gravimetric filter samplers in the laboratory and in four mines. Laboratory results with different coal types and size distributions showed that there is a 95% confidence that the individual PDM measurements were within ±25% of the reference measurements. Mine test results indicate that data taken with adjacent PDM and reference samplers are indistinguishable. The technology proved durable enough to successfully measure 108 shifts of data out of 115 attempts in the mines. Under these specific test conditions, the PDM demonstrated that it was convenient to wear, robust, provided accurate data, provided timely data that could be used to prevent overexposure, and was easy to use.