Mining Publication: Results of Noise Measurements from Underground Testing of a Roof Bolting Machine Duty Cycle
Data collected by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has shown that roof bolting machine (RBM) operators are the second most likely type of underground mining machine operator to be are over exposed to noise, per the MSHA Permissible Exposure Limit. In response to this, the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has initiated a project to develop engineering noise controls for roof bolting machines. Key to this research is an evaluation of the duty cycle of a typical roof bolting machine operation and this paper presents the results of such an exercise for data collected at two cooperating coal mines. The evaluation entails a time motion study of an operators’ shift, logging each activity for time (e.g., tramming the machine, drilling holes, installing the roof bolt, etc.) and the noise levels associated with each task with a Larson Davis Spark 705+ dosimeter. NIOSH post processed the data to determine which tasks the operator devotes the most time to and the noise dosage accumulated during those tasks. These results provide insight into which portion of the operators’ duty cycle is the most prominent contributor to noise exposure and thus, where research activities for the development of engineering noise controls should be focused. It was determined that the task of drilling holes is the most significant source of the operators’ noise exposure and project research has focused on engineering noise controls to reduce the noise emissions generated during the drilling portion of the machine duty cycle.