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Control of respirable dust in conventional coal mining operations.

Rodgers-SJ; Jayaraman-N
Proceedings of the Coal Mine Dust Conference, Morgantown, West Virginia, October 8-10, 1984. Peng, SS, ed., Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University, 1984 Oct; :50-60
Mining operations such as cutting, breaking, loading and transporting of coal generate dust in both the respirable <7mu ) and nonrespirable (>7mu) size range. Particles in the respirable size range are deposited in the respiratory tract and can result in coal workers pneumoconiosis (CWP) or "black lung." Coal workers pneumoconiosis had been a health hazard in the mining industry for many years; it has been estimated that the number of permanent disabilities and deaths of coal miners due to CWP is 3.5 times the disabilities and deaths due to all other mine incidents. The Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 established a maximum allowable respirable dust level of 2.0 mg/m3; the allowable concentration is further reduced when quartz is present. These regulations have resulted in a significant reduction of respirable dust in coal mining operations, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration reports that the majority of mines are in compliance. Currently one-fourth of the underground coal is produced from conventional mining sections with the remaining three-fourths extracted by continuous or longwall methods. Conventional mining is defined as that cycle of operations which includes cutting the coal, drilling shot holes, shot firing, loading the broken coal and installing roof supports. Coal cutting and drilling are the two dustiest operations in the conventional mining cycle; MSHA reports that the national average for these two operations is 1.1-1.2 mg/m3. In spite of the efforts to reduce respirable dust concentrations, not all mines and/or sections are in compliance with the 2.0 mg/m3 regulation. This paper provides information on the severity of dust sources in conventional coal mining operations, and presents guidelines on the use and implementation of dust control procedures to reduce respirable dust levels.
Mining-industry; Respirable-dust; Dust-control; Dust-control-equipment; Engineering-controls; Control-technology; Mining-equipment; Coal-mining
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Proceedings of the Coal Mine Dust Conference, Morgantown, West Virginia, October 8-10, 1984
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division