Mining Publication: Practical Application of a Partial Cab to Reduce the A-Weighted Sound Level at the Operator's Station on Surface Drill Rigs
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identified hearing loss as the most common job-related disease in the United States in its 1996 National Occupational Research Agenda. Previous studies by NIOSH have shown that operators of surface drill rigs without cabs are commonly exposed to A-weighted sound levels exceeding 90 dB. During hammer-drilling, A-weighted sound levels exceeding 100 dB were recorded at the operator station. NIOSH collaborated with a local drilling company to design and install a partial cab between the operator and the drill steel in an effort to reduce the sound level at the operator station. Sound level measurements in the field show the partial cab reduces the A-weighted sound level by 5 to 9 dB at the operator’s left ear and 2 to 5 dB at the operator’s right ear while hammer-drilling. This paper briefly discusses the preliminary design of a cab and the testing of materials for construction of the prototype. An explanation of the ideas behind the prototype design and fabrication are covered. Finally, the field test method and results are discussed in detail.