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Industrial hygiene study of dust levels in coal mines using diesel vehicles.

Wheeler RW; Hearl FJ; Davidson CA
Aerosols in the mining and industrial work environments, Vol. 2, characterization. Marple VA, Liu BYH, eds. Ann Arbor, MI: Ann Arbor Science, 1983 Jan; 2:381-393
Aerosol exposure in working coal mines using diesel equipment was investigated. Area respirable dust samples were collected throughout each mine section. Ten millimeter nylon cyclones operating at 2 liters/minute were placed where they would not interfere with mine operation. Personal samplers were also employed. Average ventilation and production rates were also determined for each mine. Total dust concentrations and respirable cyclohexane solubles were measured. Average ventilation rates ranged from 37,000 cubic feet (ft3)/minute in mine 2 to 101,000ft3/minute in mine 4. Average production ranged from 584 tons per shift in mine 3 to 920 tons/shift in mine 4. Respirable dust concentrations observed ranged from 0.02 milligram/cubic meter (mg/m3) to 8.37mg/m3, both readings being taken in mine 1. For geometric mean concentrations, the lowest was 0.58mg/m3 for mine 1, the highest was 1.70mg/m3 in mine 4. The continuous miner, under cutter, and return airways had the highest dust exposures. The roof bolter, feeder breaker, belt line, and haulage ways had moderate exposures, while the intake airways had the lowest respirable dust concentrations. Personal respirable dust concentrations were not appreciably different from those observed in the general work areas. Geometric mean total dust concentrations ranged from 1.20mg/m3 in mine 1 to 3.71mg/m3 in mine 3. Effects of mine, job, and area on total dust concentrations were significant with highest concentrations at the continuous miner, return airways, and the roof bolt machine. Results were similar for respirable cyclohexane solubles; geometric mean concentrations ranged from 0.05mg/m3 for mine 1 to 0.27mg/m3 for mine 3. The authors conclude that these respirable dust concentrations are all within a range commonly encountered in US coal mines suggesting that respirable dust standards can be met even when the normal coal mine dust loading is augmented with diesel particulates.
Mining-equipment; Dust-explosions; Work-analysis; Industrial-emissions; Ventilation; Dusts; Dust-analysis; Work-environment; Mining-industry; Dust-sampling; Aerosols
Publication Date
Document Type
Marple VA; Liu BYH
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Aerosols in the mining and industrial work environments, Vol. 2, characterization
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division