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ENGINEERING CONTROLS

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Activities: NIOSH Research Projects

Advanced Spray Dust Capture Principles for Mine Dust Control

The Mine Safety and Health Administration dust exposure data show that mining machine operators most frequently exceed the permissible exposure limit for respirable coal and/or silica dust. Laboratory and mine-site research work for improving the dust capture efficiency of coal mining machine mounted spray systems is planned, as well as field investigations into improving silica dust capture on rock cutting saws at dimension stone mills. This applied research would focus on integrating recently developed inline spray series scrubbers and fundamental spray design property knowledge to advance the dust capture efficiency of mining machine spray systems. This applied research is expected to advance coal and metal/nonmetal mining machine operator protection from respirable coal and/or silica dust exposure.

Project contact: John Organiscak
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2004-2009


Aircraft Cabin Airflows

This project will study the movement of air and particulates inside commercial aircraft cabins. The intent is to relate air flow patterns with the movement of potentially disease causing particles. We will use both computational fluid dynamics and experimental techniques to conduct this study. The research in this project will provide a better understanding of air movement within commercial aircraft cabins and how the potential for disease transmission could be impacted. Most studies that have been done previously have focused solely on traditional air quality parameters in aircraft cabins. However, documented cases of likely disease transmission during commercial flights have raised interest about this issue. Congress specifically mandated the Federal Aviation Administration to study this issue with CDC as a partner.

Project contact: Jennifer Topmiller
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2004-2007


Ambulance Crash Survivability Improvement Project

The objective of this NORA project is to reduce or eliminate vehicle crash-related injuries and fatalities to emergency service workers in ambulance patient compartments by increasing user acceptance of mobile occupant restraints tested during previous NIOSH Division of Safety Research research, improving the layout of the patient compartment, and improving the overall structural integrity of the patient compartment and equipment mounting hardware. A human factors evaluation will be used to evaluate impediments to occupant restraint use. The ambulance patient compartment will then be reconfigured to strengthen equipment mounts and improve worker access to equipment. The project is expected to provide interventions to improve ambulance crash-worthiness and crash survivability for emergency medical service workers, including fire fighters who frequently provide emergency care in ambulances.

Project contact: Paul Moore
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894
Project period: 2004-2007


Assessing the Utility of Control Banding in the United States

Through national and global partnerships, this project will provide guidance for control banding, a simplified strategy for applying risk assessment and control technology concepts to occupational exposures in small businesses. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of this approach and determine obstacles to implementation. Adapting existing models, the project will consider applications for NIOSH priority areas of ergonomics, dermal exposures, and traumatic injuries.

Project contact: Thomas Lentz
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8302
Project period: 2003-2008


Automobile Ultrafine Intervention

Ultrafine particles are generated in a variety of processes, including furnace and internal combustion engine operations, and metal processing such as welding, cutting, and spraying. Many of the processes generate toxic ultrafine metals such as manganese, lead, magnesium, zinc, cadmium, etc. Automotive production plants use these metals, involving many of these processes. In recent years, U.S. auto manufacturers and the United Auto Workers have become concerned about exposure to ultrafine particles. Worker exposures to these particles often go unrecognized because traditional industrial hygiene air sampling methods focus on mass rather than number. In this project, we will develop recommendations for control of ultrafine exposures, which requires an understanding of both the specific particle characteristics associated with health effects, and the efficacy of control technologies with respect to these characteristics.

Project contact: Doug Evans
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2005-2009


Control of Carbon Monoxide on Houseboats and Marine Vessels

Control of Carbon Monoxide on Houseboats and Marine Vessels is an on-going project; the main purpose is to evaluate and recommend effective engineering controls to reduce carbon monoxide poisonings on houseboats and other marine vessels. Numerous field evaluations have occurred for controls that hold great promise in preventing carbon monoxide poisonings: (1) a generator exhaust stack that reroutes generator emissions above the upper deck of the houseboat, (2) fresh air exhaust on ski boats, and (3) cleaner burning engines that reduce carbon monoxide before it exits the exhaust. Computational fluid dynamics modeling of various exhaust configurations and parameters is ongoing and additional field surveys are planned.

Project contact: Alberto Garcia
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2001-2007


Control of Styrene Exposure in Boat Manufacturing

The long-term goals of this project are (1) to reduce worker exposures to styrene by providing data to support the development of the closed-mold process, (2) to determine if the engineering controls applied in the open mold plants are adequate, and (3) to develop a set of recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of control measures. This study will be conducted in phases. The results will likely impact most of the boat manufacturing industries across the United States that emit or can potentially emit 10 tons per year of styrene or 25 tons per year of combined hazardous air pollutants from the list introduced above.

Project contact: Rebecca Carlo
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2004-2008


Controlling Isocyanate Exposures in Spray-on Bed-Liner Applicators

Controlling Isocyanate Exposures in Spray-on Bed-Liner Applicators is a continuing project that assesses isocyanate exposure, and evaluates engineering controls in the truck bed-liner industry, which is a rapidly growing small business. Workers who apply the spray-on bed liners, a two-part polyurethane or polyurea coating, to the surface and walls of pickup truck beds are exposed to isocyanate. Exposure to isocyanate can produce airway irritation, sensitization, asthma, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and may be fatal. Skin contact can lead to irritation and dermatitis. Anticipated outcomes are work practices and engineering control strategies to reduce spray applicator exposures to isocyanate in the industry.

Project contact: Daniel Almaguer
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2003-2007


Dust Control for Longwall Mining

The objective of this multi-tasked research program is to reduce the respirable dust exposure of mine workers at longwall mining operations. Laboratory testing will be conducted to evaluate (1) optimum operating levels for water and air application for multiple operating conditions, (2) respirable shield dust entrainment in high velocity airstreams, and (3) the feasibility of implementing advanced control techniques on longwalls. Mine site evaluations to benchmark available control technologies will be conducted, as well as, evaluations of new controls as they are developed. Research results will allow longwall operators to select dust control technologies that are most appropriate for their specific operating conditions and offer alternatives to traditional control techniques.

Project contact: James Rider
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 1997-2007


Dust Control Technology for Black Lung Hot Spots

This project will develop technologies to reduce exposures to respirable dust for workers in coal mines located in the southern Appalachian region, where a higher incidence of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis exists. The Mine Safety and Health Administration compliance sampling data, inspector reports, and dust control plans will be reviewed to characterize different mines. Field visits to six of the dustiest and six of the cleanest mines will then be scheduled to contrast their dust control techniques and mining methods. Improved dust control technologies will be developed and tested in the laboratory to address gaps in control technologies. Successful controls will then be implemented and tested at cooperating mine sites. Information gained from this research program will be used in a handbook and to develop a training module for miners attending annual safety training.

Project contact: Douglas Pollock
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2005-2009


Emerging Issues in Occupational Respiratory Disease Lab Research

This project provides a mechanism for the coordination of laboratory projects and laboratory support provided to the Division. Activities include the following: (1) initial program/project development, (2) response to new research issues, (3) participating in national consensus groups to develop standards for ventilation systems for industrial and agricultural tractor cabs, and for the use of respiratory protection, (4) participating in the NIOSH Respirator Policy Group, and (5) participating in CDC workgroups developing recommendations on occupational respiratory disease.

In FY2006, activities include the following: (1) working on a method to detect volatile organic compounds emitted by molds, (2) determining the efficacy of ultra violet germicidal irradiation in keeping ductwork clean, (3) characterizing the need for engineering controls to protect construction workers and health-care workers from infectious disease during health-care-facility construction activities, and (4) investigating the use of exhaled breath condensates for detecting sensitization to beryllium.

Project contact: Christopher Coffey
Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5958
Project period: 1998-2010


Engineering Development Research for Occupational Health

This project is a collection of short-term, pilot research projects in occupational health engineering. Each sub-project is at a different stage of development. Implementation will address the occupational health concerns with an engineering approach for (1) support for American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers standard setting for indoor air quality on commercial aircraft, (2) use of ultra violet germicidal irradiation and other controls for controlling tuberculosis in health care settings, (3) support of NIOSH policy development for titanium dioxide, (4) development of guidance on ventilation approaches for the ACGIH Industrial Ventilation manual, (5) control of Mn from welding processes using a VENTEX control system, and (6) control of Mg exposures in a processing plant. Some projects will evolve into stand-alone pilot projects in the future. Each sub-project will reduce worker exposures to airborne contaminants by applying and evaluating engineering controls.

Project contact: G. Scott Earnest
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2001-2010


Engineering Noise Controls for Horizontal Vibrating Screens

Noise controls will be developed to reduce the sound level around a horizontal vibrating screen by 10 dB(A) or more. First, the noise sources on a horizontal vibrating screen will be rank ordered. Next, concept noise controls that address the dominant noise sources will be discussed and the controls that best satisfy noise reduction and practical concerns will be selected for further development. Noise controls will be designed, fabricated, and installed on a screen in a laboratory setting. Sound level measurements will be performed to document the noise reduction achieved by the noise controls in the laboratory. Finally, sound level and durability tests will be conducted in a coal preparation plant with the controls that are shown to be effective in the laboratory.

Project contact: David Yantek
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2005-2008


Engineering Noise Controls for Roof Bolters

A survey of roof bolting machine operators will be conducted to identify the contribution of roof bolting machine drilling/bolting noise to the operator’s noise exposure. Sound power measurements will be conducted while drilling/bolting. This will provide solid baseline data that will be used in the development of engineering noise controls to reduce drilling/bolting noise. Underground sound level data will be analyzed to assess the relationship between roof bolting machine drilling/bolting noise and the operator’s noise exposure. Engineering noise control techniques will be identified and the most promising concepts will be evaluated by simulation or laboratory testing when it is appropriate to assess effectiveness or feasibility.

Project contact: Jeffrey Peterson
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2004-2007


Environmental Tractor Cab System Integrity Testing

This project will provide a critical link in the process of determining the cause(s) of hazardous exposure within enclosed environmental tractor cabs used in agriculture, construction, and mining. The study will use particulate filter efficiency test methodology and aerosol particle counter to identify leak sites and evaluate total cab integrity. Equipment manufacturers, construction trade workers, spray applicators, and NIOSH researchers will collaborate to develop a method to measure aerosol penetration into environmental enclosures. A total cab performance program incorporating appropriate aerosol test methodology will be developed to cover all phases of manufacturing and design as well as the applicability of performance audits during routine maintenance.

Project contact: Ernest Moyer
Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749
Project period: 2005-2008


Ergonomics Evaluation and Improvement of Mobile Equipment

The purpose of this project is to reduce musculoskeletal disorders among operators of mobile equipment. This will be achieved by characterizing ergonomic risk factors among operators of mobile equipment in the mining industry and developing recommendations for improving equipment design, and when appropriate controls will be evaluated in the field or laboratory settings. Many of the research findings can be translated to construction, agriculture, and transportation industries.

Project contact: N. Kumar Kittusamy
Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2003-2008


Ergonomics Process Effectiveness in Mining

The purpose of this research is to demonstrate that an ergonomics process can effectively lower worker exposure to musculoskeletal disorder risk factors and reduce musculoskeletal disorder incident rates in mining environments. Researchers will work with mining companies to implement and evaluate ergonomics processes and specific task-related interventions. A key element to this study will be to create a metric to assess the developmental stage of a process and its effectiveness. Demonstration of effective ways to apply ergonomics principles to mining work activities will promote their use by the mining community.

Project contact: Janet Torma-Krajewski
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2003-2007


Evaluation of Heat Strain

Mine workers are exposed to hot work environments that result in increased risk of injury or illness. The goal of this research is to prevent illness and injury in mine workers due to the effects of working in a hot environment. The project will build on previous work in identifying heat sources in mine workplaces to develop and test improved equipment and methods to protect mine workers in hot environments. The project will also develop real time monitoring technology that can be used to alert miners before they suffer heat illness.

Project contact: Floyd Varley
Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2005-2010


Expedient Patient Isolation for Bioterroism and Epidemic Response

This project seeks to identify and provide detailed implementation guidance on expedient patient isolation techniques that are affordable, easily implemented, provide effective isolation, reduce potential health care worker exposures, and do not interfere with hands-on health care activities. Recommendations originating from this research will benefit multiple population demographics. Urban health care centers will be able to incorporate the recommendations to accommodate large-population events. Rural facilities, which generally lack patient isolation capabilities, will be able to obtain such capabilities with only minimal expense. Globally, variations of the guidance could assist in affording isolation capacity at remote facilities, close to the source of new outbreaks with epidemic potential. Application to nonhospital settings such as homeless shelters, jails, ambulances, etc. will also result.

Project contact: Kenneth Mead
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2004-2007


Extended Cut Air Delivery Systems

The specific aims of this research are to (1) prevent dangerous accumulations of methane at the mining face and (2) improve monitoring of methane levels and airflow at the face to assure control measures are working properly and regulatory standards for methane concentrations are not exceeded.

Program objectives include developing improved techniques for delivering and distributing intake airflow at the face area during mining operations. Research/design methodology includes use of a full-scale gallery that models ventilation of a mining entry between the last open cross cut and the face. More effective uses of currently available methanometers are being studied and sampling strategies for accurate estimates of face methane concentrations are recommended.

Project contact: Charles Taylor
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 1999-2007


Fire Hazard Reduction in Metal and Nonmetal Mining

The purpose of this research is to reduce the incidence of fires and injuries due to fire through a comprehensive program of basic and applied research that addresses the unique fire safety problems within the metal and nonmetal mining industry. The goal is to develop improved (1) control and suppression systems, (2) tests and standards for material flammability, (3) fire detection capabilities, and (4) educational and fire safety training materials. The results of this research will be communicated to stakeholders through publication of results in peer-reviewed journals, technology transfer sessions and workshops, and direct technical assistance to the metal and nonmetal mining industry.

Project contact: Charles Litton
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2003-2007


Flock Workers' Lung Disease Prevention

This project will test the effectiveness of a prototype cleaning system as a practical alternative to the existing use of compressed air as the primary method for cleaning particulate debris from equipment and work surfaces in the flock industry. The proposed method is expected to decrease exposures to airborne dust in the workplace and ultimately contribute to the reduction of the burden of flock workers’ lung.

Project contact: Chris Piacitelli
Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
(304) 285-5749
Project period: 2005-2007


Ground Control Hazards in Surface Mines

Improved methods for recognizing ground control hazards will lead to reduced injuries from falls of ground in surface mines. Research will apply to the National Occupational Research Agenda research priorities in the mining sector for emerging technologies and traumatic injuries. Successful implementation would provide tools to automate the collection and processing of images for workers and safety inspectors to use in the field. The impact of better recognition and improved warnings of ground control hazards will be a safer work environment in surface mines and fewer severe injuries from rock falls.

Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2005-2009


Improved Mine Safety Through Optimized Resource Extraction

This project seeks to investigate the complex system relationships between fragmentation, ground support requirements, operating efficiencies, and safety in mines that use drilling and blasting as the primary excavation method. The ultimate objective of this research is to reduce injuries and accidents that result from loose or damaged ground and other blast related hazards. These goals will be met in part by developing guidelines and recommendations that can be used by design engineers to minimize peripheral damage from blasting.

Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2005-2010


Improving Engineering Controls for Exothermic Processes

The goals of the proposed research study address the need for effective and efficient control technologies for exothermic processes. The study uses a two-phase design in the assessment and development of improved controls for these processes. This research will use established and new technologies to investigate the empirical models currently used, study alternatives to these models, and validate operational parameters such as exhaust flow and hood placement to ensure worker protection and efficient operation.

A Research to Practice aspect is integral to the proposed project design. This effort will include conducting a cost benefit analysis and a determination of the impact to worker safety and health from implementing proposed control modifications. Additionally, results will potentially affect changes to the primary guide used to design exothermic processes controls throughout the United States.

Project contact: John McKernan
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project period: 2004-2007


Injury Prevention in the Commercial Fishing Industry

The commercial fishing injury prevention project focuses on traumatic injuries in the Alaskan commercial fishing industry. Information gathered from this project has directed us to identify areas where we can focus injury prevention efforts. NIOSH Alaska Field Station has provided epidemiologic assistance in describing the dangers of commercial fishing, developing interventions to decrease injuries in the industry, and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions. The goal of this project is to reduce traumatic injuries in the commercial fishing industry in Alaska.

By involving industry, the current commercial fishing injury prevention project has revealed practical safe-deck procedures on crab fishing vessels. We have also translated research findings into action by developing effective injury intervention products for the deck of a commercial fishing vessel and will demonstrate their compatibility and acceptability with fishermen.

Project contact: Bradley Husberg
Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2000-2010


Mine Rescue and Response

This research project is intended to enhance the safety and effectiveness of responders to mine emergencies by developing realistic training simulations and evaluating improved technology that can be used during evacuation, exploration, rescue, recovery, and fire fighting. It is also intended to enhance the safety of mine workers by improving the state of fire preparedness at underground coal and metal/nonmetal mines. Overall, the outcomes of this project will be a measurable improvement in the readiness of well-trained and well-equipped miners, mine rescue teams, and fire brigades to respond to mine fires or other emergencies; improved technology to escape from underground smoke-filled passageways; and technology transfer briefings, seminars, and workshops that are highly evaluated by participants.

Project contact: Charles Lazzara
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 1999-2007


Mobile Mining Equipment Warning Systems

The goal of the project is to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities of workers who operate or work near lift trucks. Research is being performed to develop a sensor-based monitoring system that will continuously monitor the critical operating of lift trucks to determine if the vehicle is being operated safely and alert the operator if an unsafe procedure is being used. When a critical operating parameter is exceeded, a digital voice warning message is activated. The system can also be used as a tool to improve lift truck operator training, evaluate training programs, and identify areas in need of additional safety training. The expected impact of this research should be significant with the goal of reducing the 20,000 yearly lift truck accidents in the United States by 20 percent.

Project contact: John Owens
Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2002-2007


Prevention and Mitigation of Mine Inundations

While much progress has been made in preventing disasters in mines, water inundations still occur and have the real potential of producing multiple fatalities. Many mining operations rely on bulkheads to provide a barrier between impounded water and active mine workings. The purpose of this research is to improve the safety of miners by reducing the risk of water inundations associated with bulkhead failures. The main goal is to compile a comprehensive manual for bulkhead design, construction, operation, monitoring, and emergency planning and management. The results of this research will be communicated to stakeholders through the publication of results in peer-reviewed journals, the organization of forums for information transfer to industry and regulatory bodies, and direct technical assistance to the mining industry.

Project contact: Samuel Harteis
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
Lake Lynn Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2004-2008


Reducing Airborne Contaminants in Large-Opening Mines

The research project will develop the most effective methods to ventilate large opening stone mines. Using these methods, mine operators will be able to implement an effective mine ventilation system. Research results will determine the best solid and flexible fabric stopping types and construction methods, optimal fan locations particularly in face areas, the appropriate length of long stone pillars, and the best mine layouts to remove airborne contaminants from large-opening mines while still meeting production targets. Research results will be presented in a comprehensive toolbox of ventilation guidelines for use in large-opening underground stone mines. In addition, research results will be provided to stakeholders through peer-reviewed journals, mining symposiums, workshops, and direct communication to administrative representatives of metal/nonmetal mines.

Project contact: Roy Grau
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2005-2009


Reducing Fire Hazards in U.S. Coal Mines

This project will identify the best technologies and practices in mine ventilation and spontaneous combustion control to reduce the occurrence of spontaneous combustion, particularly in underground mines that have appreciable levels of methane. Computer models will be developed to evaluate ventilation schemes to control spontaneous combustion and to describe the ventilation pathways and the effect of methane control systems on the ventilation pathways in the gob. Flame cutting and welding fire accident investigations will be scrutinized, workers interviewed, and flame cutting and welding operations will be observed to determine the root causes of these types of fires in the coal mining sector. Promising direct interventions to prevent the root causes of flame cutting and welding fires will be evaluated in field tests at operating underground coal mines.

Project contact: Alex Smith
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2004-2008


Reducing Mining Mishaps by Improving Mine Illumination

Miners depend most heavily on visual cues [Cornelius, Steiner, and Turin, 1998*] to spot mine hazards. Therefore, the project objective is to improve mine illumination such that a miner’s visual performance improves to better recognize slip/trip/fall hazards and pinning/striking hazards from moving machinery. The project will conduct an analytical (comparative) study using traditional mine illumination technology and solid state lighting technology. The project will determine the effectiveness and feasibility of using solid state lighting to improve the visual performance of miners by reducing glare, improving visual acuity, re-distributing light to workspaces with high incident rates.

*Cornelius K, Steiner L, Turin F [1998]. Using coal miners' experience to identify effective operating cues. 42nd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Project Contact: John Sammarco
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2005-2008


Rock Burst Hazard Assessment

Rock burst hazard assessment work using seismic and wall strain monitoring will continue at four mines to identify hazardous conditions and protect miners. The seismic monitoring will be used for continuing surveillance of the magnitude of the problem and to identify increases in seismicity that would create hazards to the miners. Wall strain monitoring with instrumented rock bolts will continue in order to identify any localized strain changes that could indicate a possible rock burst. This data will also provide an understanding of the response of the support system to rock bursts for improvement of rock burst support design.

Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2005-2010


Roof Fall Evaluation and Mediation in Weak Rocks

The purpose of this research is to determine best roof support practices in weak rock and to develop a method of evaluating anchorage capacity of a given borehole with a simple device. Numerical models are being used to simulate failure mechanisms and to aid in identifying best support practices. Two simple borehole devices have been developed to assess anchorage capacity. The devices will provide a rough measure of the anchorage capacity in a given borehole. Such capability will enable operators to monitor conditions in the roof rock.

Expected outcomes will be guidelines of best support practices in weak rock and a package that includes instrumented ROSS’s and borehole device for use by industry.

Project contact: Mark Larson
Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2003-2007


Safety Solutions to Prevent Mining Material Handling Injuries

The purpose of this project is to reduce or eliminate material handling injuries in western stone, metal, nonmetal, and sand and gravel mines. High injury tasks and causes of injuries while performing these tasks will be identified. Material handling equipment/systems proven to reduce injuries will be publicized and shared via 2- to 3-page documents (safety solutions). Training videos produced at working mines using miners to show how to safely perform high injury tasks will be developed. Expected outcomes include better use of machines to replace manual tasks, better awareness of material handling hazards and high injury tasks, incorporation of new and innovative material handling videos into safety meetings, and reduction of the material handling injury incident rate by 0.50 to 0.75 injuries per 100 workers in the next 5 years.

Project contact: Bill Stewart
Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2002-2007


Silica and Noise Exposure Control for Tile Roof Installers

Roofers are at risk of high crystalline silica and noise exposures during the cutting of cement roofing tiles. Workers frequently make tile cuts using uncontrolled equipment. This project seeks to identify cost-effective and practical control strategies for this operation. Control strategies include, but are not limited to (1) manually-operated tools, (2) local exhaust ventilation, (3) water application, and (4) alternative materials and roofing methods. The goal is to develop a best practices guideline, model specifications, and other guidance documents for workers to follow that will provide protection from both silica exposures and noise.

Project contact: Michael Gressel
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2005-2007


Silica Dust Control in Metal/Nonmetal Mining

Although the health hazards from silica dust have been documented for many years, the problem of overexposure still persists for a number of job occupations in both underground and surface metal/nonmetal mining operations. Several occupations have been identified as being chronically exposed to excessive quantities of dust. Dust surveys will be conducted at underground limestone mines, surface silica sand operations, and a dimension stone shop to evaluate control technologies being developed for high risk occupations at these sites. Successful research results will be disseminated throughout the respective industries to help lower silica exposures for high risk occupations.

Project contact: Gregory Chekan
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 1997-2007


Silica Dust Control in Underground Coal Mining

This project will develop technologies to limit exposures to respirable silica dust for operators of roof bolters and continuous mining machines. For roof bolter operators, the effects of repeated loadings and cleanings of a bolter dust filters will be studied. Also, the impact of mist drilling technology on the levels of respirable silica dust will be investigated. For continuous miner operators, this work will evaluate the impacts of ventilation parameters on the control of both respirable dust and face gas levels. Also, this project will assess new inlet designs to improve the capture of respirable dust with a flooded-bed dust scrubber. Finally, relationships between mined material and silica dust generation will be defined.

Project contact: Gerrit Goodman
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2002-2007


Small Business Solutions Internet Web Site

This project will enhance the NIOSH small business internet Web site to transfer the results of current and past research and solutions-based information to small business workplaces to affect the transfer of research to practice. The internet site is being designed and tested for small business usability with feedback capabilities. The information presented on the site will include hazard information and solutions (substitution, engineering controls, work practices, etc.) targeted to specific small business segments, occupations, hazards, and tasks. The project is a partnership of many outside organizations that will contribute to the establishment of a user-friendly, simple database of solutions that will provide a consistent first step towards transferring much needed occupational safety and health information into workplace practices for this hard-to reach and extremely important segment of the workforce.

Project contact: Richard Niemeier
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8302
Project period: 2003-2011


Smoke Management and Fire Modeling for Underground Mines

A mine fire simulator which in response to real-time mine fire sensor data can determine the appropriate smoke management methods will be developed for applications to miner safety in underground mines. In-mine fire and smoke transport experiments, computational fluid dynamic modeling, sensor optimum site location experiments, fire risk assessment strategies, and smoke leakage experiments will be conducted to develop the supporting research for the development of the mine fire simulator for underground mining. Smoke control measures will be developed and evaluated. The effects of ventilation changes on an underground mine fire to prevent its growth and minimize smoke roll-back will be evaluated experimentally.

Project contact: John Edwards
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2003-2008


Stability Assessment with Seismic Monitoring

Underground miners are exposed to a variety of different hazards (e.g., ground falls, coal bumps, general overstressing, etc.) resulting from uncontrolled or unplanned deformation of the local ground surrounding underground openings. Such dynamic failures also pose additional hazards when mining in the vicinity of bodies of water. This project seeks to develop and apply seismic monitoring tools to aid in the development of methods to estimate and forecast such ground control hazards in order to reduce occupational exposures. Results are transferred to the mining industry through joint development and demonstration projects and information dissemination activities.

Project contact: Peter Swanson
Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2004-2007


Surface Mine Dust Control

The objective of this project is to provide a broad-based approach towards reducing silica exposure in surface mining operations through improved understanding of dust generation principles, evaluation and improvement of current control technologies, and development of new control technologies. Laboratory and mine-site development work for improving the highwall drill’s primary dust collection system will be conducted, as well as investigations into improving quality control methods to ensure the integrity of enclosed environmental cabs. Additional efforts will focus on the interactions between drilling parameters and overburden lithology and how this interaction affects respirable dust generation improving dust emission capture under the shroud area, and reducing dust generated at the collector dump point.

Project contact: Jeffrey Listak
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
(412) 386-6601
Project period: 2003-2008


Tag-Based Proximity Warning System for Construction Equipment

The objective of this project is to evaluate newly available tag-based proximity warning systems for use on construction equipment to avoid collisions with workers and other obstacles within the work zone. Tag-based proximity warning systems have the potential to reduce collisions in crowded work areas where other types of proximity warning systems may alarm too often to be effective. There is a need to scientifically evaluate this new technology at various types of construction sites to understand its effectiveness and limitations. Results of this study will be used by regulatory agencies and standards organizations in the formulation of rules and recommended practices. The information will also be presented to contractors and labor organizations making decisions on safety improvements for construction work zones.

Project contact: Todd Ruff
Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2004-2007


Targeted Approach Toward Health Hazard Management

The purpose of this project is to provide a means of investigating particular occupational health hazards requested by mining stakeholders or others on behalf of our stakeholders, which may be of immediate concern, associated with unplanned events, or not as widely known by the industry as a whole. Hazard issues will be screened based on an extensive literature review and may warrant an on-site investigation including personal, ambient, and biological monitoring using NIOSH monitoring and analytical methods or appropriate direct reading instrumentation. Findings and knowledge gained from these investigations will be translated into recommendations, interventions, and guidelines toward preventing occupational illness and injuries. This project may also serve as a basis for new mining program research projects designed to focus more time and resources toward solving more complex problems.

Spokane Research Laboratory
(509) 354-8001
Project period: 2005-2008


Transferring Cost-Effective Rollover Protective Structure Designs to Industry

Agriculture is one of the most dangerous United States industries for occupational fatalities. The largest source of fatal injuries is the tractor. Tractor overturn fatalities contribute greatly to the number of tractor related deaths. The long-term goal for this project is to increase the portion of the United States tractor fleet that is equipped with a rollover protective structure (ROPS) and a seatbelt. A ROPS and seatbelt can prevent almost all tractor overturn fatalities. Recognizing cost can be a prohibiting factor to retrofitting a tractor with a ROPS and seatbelt, this project will continue development of cost-effective ROPS designs for popular non-ROPS tractors. Partnerships will be solicited to commercialize these designs.

Project contact: Alfred Amendola
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894
Project period: 2005-2007

 

 
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  • Page last reviewed: May 23, 2011
  • Page last updated: March 4, 2008
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