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Reducing bag stacker's respirable dust exposure with semi-automated palletizing systems.

Cecala-A; Smith-B
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2001 Jun; :25
Silica exposure levels in the meta/nonmetal mining industry indicate that the bag stacker is one of the highest exposure job functions for the entire industry. Malvern Minerals Company implemented two major components at their silica sand operation in an effort to lower their bag stacker's respirable dust exposure. The first component was a semi-automated palletizing system. This system used an air slide to more easily allow the worker to position bags of product material, thus significantly reducing the bag stacker's back strain and fatigue while performing the pallet loading process. The second improvement was the installation of a dust filtering unit that was positioned over the bag stacker to provide an envelope of clean filtered air down over the worker. However, even after the implementation of this new equipment, the bag stacker's respirable dust exposure remained at unacceptable levels. Malvern Minerals Company requested the assistance of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which performed an analysis to determine factors impacting the bag stacker's dust exposure. Through a cooperative effort between Malvern Minerals Company, NIOSH, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), a number of modifications were designed and implemented to create a more effective dust control system for the bag stacker. The primary contaminant source was dust being blown off of bags from the air slide on the semi-automated palletizing unit. Initially, the air slide was turned off to lower the bag stacker's dust exposure. By implementing a number of other changes to the system, the air slide was able to be operated without any increased dust exposure to the bag stacker. This research provides techniques to lower the bag stacker's respirable dust exposure, especially in operations using semi-automated palletizing systems.
Dust-exposure; Dusts; Dust-particles; Dust-inhalation; Dust-control; Dust-control-equipment; Inhalants; Exposure-levels; Respirable-dust; Respiration; Engineering-controls; Control-technology; Mineral-processing; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Ergonomics; Back-injuries
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana