Evaluating Longwall Dust Sources And Controls
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Evaluating Longwall Dust Sources And Controls

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    Health surveillance efforts indicate that the development of lung disease and overexposure to respirable dust in underground coal mires continues to afflict mine worker. Results from the most recent round (1992 - 1996) of the Coal Worker's X-ray Surveillance Programs indicate that approximately 8% of the examined miners who had at least 25 years of mining experience were diagnosed with Coal Worker Pneumoconiosis (CWP) (category 1/0+). During the period between 1995-1999, mine operators and MSHA inspectors collected 9968 and 1365 dust samples respectively, from longwall designated occupation (DO) personnel. Analysis of these samples showed that 1970 (20%) of the mine operator samples and 25.8 (19%) of the MSHA samples5 exceeded the 2 mg/m3 dust standard. The continued development of CWP in coal mine workers and the magnitude of respirable dust over-exposures in longwall mining occupations illustrate the need for improved dust control technology on longwalls. Figure 1 illustrates the major longwall dust sources as determined in the early 1990's.4 This article describes the ongoing research to find ways to minimise shearer dust levels as a function of changes in dust control parameters, and research to determine the impact of high air velocities on shield dust entrainment.
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