Mining Contract: Adaptation of Wearable Respirable Dust Monitor Prototypes for use in Underground Coal Mines

Contract # 75D30121C11901
Start Date 9/1/2021
Research Concept

This contract responds to health and safety issues associated with monitoring and prevention of exposure to respirable dust in underground mines, specifically regarding development of non-regulatory personal measurement of coal dust and/or silica. Feedback is a critical requirement for reducing exposure to known hazards. This device will allow miners to adjust their practices and instantly obtain feedback as to whether or not it worked to reduce exposure to respirable dust. It will also be lighter and less bulky than the continuous personal dust monitor (CPDM), with weight and bulkiness being common complaints associated with the CPDM.

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is ongoing. For more information on this contract, send a request to

The overarching goal of this contract is to adapt the Wearable Respirable Dust Monitor (WEARDM) system developed by the University of Illinois under the contract, "Miniaturized Wearable Personal Dust Exposure Monitor for Respirable and Alveolar Dust in Underground Coal Mines," for reliable long-term use in underground coal mines. This adaptation includes design changes and achieving Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulatory approval in relation to intrinsic safety, permitting its use in underground coal mines.

The adaptation will result in prototypes that are rugged and designed to operate for extended periods in underground mining operations, including facilitated access to reliably service the internal components between shifts and wireless download of measured exposure data.

Research under this contract will address the following objectives:

  1. Adapt the WEARDM prototype designs to the mining environment and fabricate a minimum of five copies of the adapted prototypes.
  2. Obtain MSHA permissibility certification of the adapted prototypes for in-mine testing (both temporary experimental and permanent).
  3. Evaluate the functionality of the adapted prototypes in collaboration with NIOSH in laboratory and mining environments.
  4. Connect with a commercialization partner and support technology transfer.

Page last reviewed: February 14, 2023
Page last updated: February 14, 2023