Mining Publication: Best Practices for Dust Control in Coal Mining. Second edition.

Original creation date: August 2021

Authors: J Colinet, C Halldin, J Schall

Information Circular - August 2021

NIOSHTIC2 Number: 20063272

Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2021-119 (IC 9532), 2021 Aug; :1-164

The extraction, transport, and processing of coal produces respirable-sized dust that can be inhaled by miners and cause disabling and potentially fatal lung diseases known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP, commonly called “black lung”) or silicosis. Once contracted, there is no cure for these lung diseases, so prevention is the goal. Since 1970, NIOSH has offered health screenings to underground coal miners to identify CWP in individuals and to track CWP prevalence across the industry. After an initial 30-year downward trend, CWP prevalence has been increasing over the last 20 years.

Coal dust particles larger in size than respirable dust, known as float coal dust, are also produced during mining. Float coal dust settles out of the ventilating air onto the floor, ribs, and roof of underground mining entries. This dust can be lifted back into the air from these surfaces to fuel powerful explosions, which have contributed to numerous fatal mine disasters.

To address these issues, coal mine operators search for and implement control technologies that limit worker exposure to respirable dust and minimize the deposition of float coal dust. The controls discussed in this second edition of this handbook range from long-utilized controls that have developed into industry standards to emerging controls that continue to be researched.

The handbook is divided into six chapters. Chapter 1 discusses the health effects of exposure to respirable coal and silica dust. Chapter 2 discusses respirable dust sampling instruments and sampling methods. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 focus on respirable dust control technologies for longwall mining, continuous mining, and surface mining, respectively. Chapter 6 discusses float coal dust sampling and control technologies.

Cover of Best Practices for Dust Control in Coal Mining. Second edition.
Information Circular - August 2021

NIOSHTIC2 Number: 20063272

Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2021-119 (IC 9532), 2021 Aug; :1-164


Page last reviewed: 8/18/2021 Page last updated: 9/20/2021