Mining Publication: Considerations for Using Roof Monitors in Underground Limestone Mines in the USA
The Pittsburgh Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) endeavors to provide national and world leadership in the prevention of work-related illness, injury, and death. This is accomplished by using a scientific approach to gather information, assemble and create knowledge, then translate the knowledge and results into products and services. These products and services are then delivered to all personnel who can effect prevention. Obviously, the development and use of instruments to monitor mine roof conditions provides an opportunity to execute that mission. In the late 1990s, based on observations at a number of underground limestone mines, only a few used roof monitors. Subsequently, NIOSH introduced the Roof Monitoring Safety System (RMSS) as an aid to roof inspection beyond traditional visual and sounding techniques. Initial expectations were that by gaining roof movement information, ultimately roof sag rates could provide indications of eventual failure. During this investigation, RMSSs were installed in 13 underground limestone mines in 6 states; this paper analyzes the data obtained at 3 of these mines. This paper also provides an overview of the system, data, analysis, and applications relevant to the RMSS.