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Implementing a new personal dust monitor as an engineering tool.

Volkwein JC; Thimons ED; Yanak C; Dunham D; Patashnick H; Rupprecht E
Coal Age 2004 Dec; 109(12):26-29
A new personal respirable dust monitor developed by Rupprecht & Patashnick Co., Inc., in a multiyear project funded by NIOSH generated promising results in underground coal mine testing performed by NIOSH and industry representatives during the summer of 2003. The mine data showed that the personal dust monitor (PDM) performed similarly to co-located manual referenced samplers for full-shift samples at all four underground coal mines at which the evaluation took place. The technology that forms the heart of the PDM, called the tapered-element oscillating microbalance (TEOM system), is unique in its ability to collect suspended particles on a filter while simultaneously determining the accumulated mass with NIST traceability. Because the monitor measures the true particle mass collected on its filter, its results do not exhibit the same sensitivity to water spray as do optically based measurement approaches. The technique achieves microgram-level mass resolution even in the hostile mine environment and reports dust loading data on a continuous basis. Using the device, miners and mine operators have the ability to view both the cumulative and projected end-of-shift mass concentration values, as well as a short-term 15- or 30-min running average. During underground mine trials in the summer of 2003, technical personnel used the readings from the PDM to identify and correct several abnormal dust-generating scenarios. These events demonstrated the potential of the PDM to be used as an engineering tool to evaluate the effectiveness of various dust control strategies. In a separate evaluation by CONSOL Energy, Inc., the mine operator evaluated the benefit of a proposed new water spray-based dust control system. Engineers measured the dust concentration upstream and downstream of a production location under different dust control scenarios using two PDM units. By evaluating the change in the dust loading between the upstream and downstream monitoring sites, the company was able to determine in a few hours which hardware configuration would yield the greatest benefit to the workplace environment.
Respirable-dust; Dusts; Underground-mining; Underground-miners; Coal-mining; Coal-miners; Dust-exposure; Dust-samplers; Dust-sampling; Dust-particles; Dust-measurement; Pneumoconiosis
NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
Source Name
Coal Age
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division