Mining Project: Respirable Dust Control Methods on Continuous Mining Operations

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Principal Investigator
Start Date 10/1/2010
End Date 9/30/2014

To evaluate and improve control technologies to reduce dust exposures for operators of continuous mining and roof bolting equipment. These personnel are typically exposed to some of the highest dust concentrations in the underground mine environment.

Topic Areas

Research Summary

This project developed and evaluated control technologies to reduce respirable dust exposures for operators of roof bolters and continuous mining machines. Results from the most recent health surveillance data indicate that approximately 8% of the examined mine workers with at least 25 years of mining experience were diagnosed with coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP). Decreasing the number of respiratory illnesses in mine workers will be achieved by reducing health hazards in the workplace associated with CWP and silicosis.

This project aimed to reduce the number of pneumoconiosis cases by 10%. The project included four tasks with the goal of reducing respirable dust exposure for underground coal workers who work on continuous mining operations.

  • Task 1 - Analyze redirected scrubber exhaust
  • Task 2 - Improve dust suppression techniques on continuous miners
  • Task 3 - Evaluate stand-alone dust scrubbers
  • Task 4 - Evaluate dust controls for mining cross-cuts

Various research methodologies and techniques were used to achieve this goal. NIOSH researchers worked with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to improve existing engineering controls on machinery. Controlled laboratory studies were performed under a variety of mining parameters to optimize performance of dust controls before introducing the technology for testing in underground conditions. Field surveys were conducted to determine how current dust control methods could be improved.

Page last reviewed: March 15, 2017
Page last updated: March 15, 2017