Mining Publication: A Dual Sprocket Chain as a Noise Control for a Continuous Mining Machine
Over-exposure to noise remains a widespread, serious health hazard in the U.S. mining industries despite 25 years of regulation. Most other categories of illnesses and injuries associated with mining have improved, with the exception of hearing loss. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) coal noise sample data collected from 2000 to 2002 show that 65% of the equipment whose operators exceeded 100% noise dosage is comprised of seven different types of machines. The continuous mining machine is first among all the equipment with 35% of the noise overexposures. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting research to reduce excessive exposure for operators of continuous mining machines and preventing additional cases of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) by developing low-cost retrofit noise controls for mining equipment. This paper describes a noise control for reducing the noise overexposures of continuous mining machine operators. Underground results show a 26.4% and 27.4% noise exposure reduction for the continuous mining machine operator. This research is providing the mining community with an additional noise control to be utilized on continuous mining machines, therefore reducing operator noise overexposure. Utilizing this newly developed noise control, along with previously proven controls for the continuous mining machine chain conveyor, will provide operators of these machines an opportunity to be within the MSHA-Permissible Exposure Limit (MSHA-PEL).