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Reducing enclosed cab drill operator's respirable dust exposure with effective filtration and pressurization techniques.

Cecala A; Organiscak J; Zimmer J; Heitbrink W; Moyer E; Schmitz M; Ahrenholtz E; Coppock C; Andrews E
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2003 May; :49
Many types of surface mining equipment use enclosed cabs to protect equipment operators from health and safety hazards. The over burden removal and mining process can be extremely dusty and can cause excessive dust exposures to workers. A cooperative research effort was established between the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Silica Company, Clean Air Filter Company, and Red Dot Corporation in an effort to lower an operator's respirable dust exposure while working in an enclosed cab on an older surface drill. Since this study was performed at a silica sand operation, crystalline silica was the most prevalent dust being liberated and thus, there was a need to maximize dust protection for workers. Throughout this research effort, a number of changes were incorporated into the drill's filtration and pressurization system, as well as in other areas to improve its design and performance. Comparing gravimetric sampling taken on the outside and inside of the cab on the final design showed a substantial reduction with an average "cab efficiency" of 93.4 percent. This research was not intended to be a case study but to identify improvements that can be universally implemented on all types of enclosed cabs to reduce respirable dust concentrations. Critical components for an effective enclosed cab system are having a properly designed, installed, and maintained filtration and pressurization system, maintaining structural cab integrity, which allows it to be positively pressurized, and maintaining cab cleanliness. Although this research was originally directed toward the mining industry, it is also applicable to agricultural or construction equipment. By minimizing respirable dust levels inside enclosed cabs, the potential for workers developing silicosis or other debilitating lung diseases can be significantly decreased.
Respirable-dust; Dust-particles; Dusts; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Mining-equipment; Mining-industry; Workers; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Engineering-controls; Control-technology; Silica-dusts; Mine-workers; Miners
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas
Page last reviewed: October 9, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division