Mining Publication: NIOSH Research for Controlling Respirable Dust and Methane Gas on Continuous Miner Faces
The importance of controlling respirable dust and methane gas levels in underground coal mining cannot be underestimated. While respirable dust can significantly affect the occupational health of underground coal miners, methane gas accumulations pose significant safety concerns for these same workers. Water sprays and machine mounted dust scrubbers offer effective control of respirable dust exposures and methane gas accumulations. Water must not only be applied carefully to avoid dust rollback to the machine operator but must create sufficient turbulence to remove dead zones that could contain high concentrations of methane gas. While the flooded-bed dust scrubber has been generally responsible for decreased worker exposures to respirable dusts, this device has proved effective in controlling methane levels at the face. This paper reviews practical applications of water sprays and dust scrubbers to control respirable dust and methane gas on continuous miner faces.