Mining Publication: Controlling and Monitoring Diesel Emissions in Underground Mines in the United States
The exposure of mine workers to diesel particulate matter (DPM) and gases is an issue of great concern to the underground mining community in the United States. Approximately 30,000 underground miners are potentially exposed to high concentrations of DPM. In January of 2001, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) promulgated rules setting compliance standards for both underground coal and metal / nonmetal mine workers. As industry works to achieve compliance with these standards, mine operators are looking for feasible methods for reducing DPM concentrations in their mines. In addition, the industry needs methods to accurately measure DPM to ensure that the control strategies they adopt are working successfully. The Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (PRL) of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts research to evaluate control technologies and monitoring instrumentation that can be used to reduce the diesel particulate matter (DPM) exposure of mine workers. An overview of the strategies being utilized in underground US mines to reduce DPM concentrations will be presented. Also, updates on the development of diesel monitoring instruments such as the continuous elemental carbon monitor or the Personal Dust Monitor for DPM measurement will be provided.