Miner's exposure to dust remains a top concern among regulatory agencies, particularly at production facilities with high levels of silica. This respirable dust is present in almost all operations and is a direct cause of the deadly disease silicosis. Silica is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth and is a threat at all operations, especially granite and sand and gravel facilities. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health continues to analyze silica's threat. The institute's research indicates that heavy-equipment operators have an increased risk to dust exposure, especially when drilling or breaking rock, even when working from an enclosed cab. However, there are methods to reduce an operator's exposure further, according to recent NIOSH research, which is detailed in its report, Improving Air Quality in Enclosed Caps with Uni-Directional Filtration/Pressurization System. NIOSH indicates that when surface mining equipment is new, the operator's dust exposure is normally at acceptable levels. As the equipment ages and components such as gaskets and seals deteriorate, the level of protection can degrade to a point where it is no longer acceptable. However, the institute indicates that at least two critical factors necessary for an effective system.
Biological-factors; Breathing-zone; Chemical-hypersensitivity; Control-technology; Dust-control; Dust-control-equipment; Dust-exposure; Engineering-controls; Equipment-design; Equipment-reliability; Explosive-dusts; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Filters; Inhalation-studies; Mining-equipment; Mining-industry; Particle-aerodynamics; Particulate-dust; Respirable-dust; Respiratory-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Silica-dusts; Silicates; Surface-mining; Ventilation-equipment