An update on face ventilation research for improved longwall dust control.
Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Annual Meeting, 1998 Mar; :1-8
Although the number of operating longwall mining systems has remained relatively consistent over the past five years, longwall production levels have increased significantly during this period. Longwall production currently accounts for approximately 50% of U.S. underground production. While longwalls are highly productive and offer other advantages, operations employing this method of mining continue to experience dust compliance problems. This increased longwall productivity has meant that far more dust is being produced. An improved understanding of the longwall face ventilation system and advancement of face ventilation technologies are necessary to ensure all face personnel are allowed to work in an environment that is free of excessive levels of airborne respirable coal mine dust. The Dust and Toxic Substances Control Branch of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Pittsburgh Research Laboratory has examined several basic principles of the longwall face ventilation system, and has evaluated the effectiveness of numerous improved face ventilation techniques for longwall mining systems. These include identifying improved techniques for measuring face ventilation parameters on longwall mining sections and investigating the fundamental relationship between air flow and the entrainment and dilution of respirable coal mine dust. Studies have been completed to determine the impact on face dust levels from using belt entry air to ventilate the longwall. Novel methods have been identified to increase the amount of face air flow and to manage face air flow to most effectively minimize face workers' dust exposure. Unique systems of auxiliary face ventilation have been developed and evaluated at full-scale, simulated longwall test facilities. The theoretical and applied aspects of each of these principles and technologies are discussed. Application of these results, throughout the longwall mining industry, as documented from surveys conducted in the early 1980's and 1990's, have reduced the health hazard associated with excessive exposure to respirable coal mine dust.
Ventilation-systems; Coal-mining; Underground-mining; Mine-safety; Miners; Mine-workers; Coal-dust; Respirable-dust;
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Other Occupational Concerns
Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Annual Meeting Preprint 98-82