New Approach Controls Dust At The Collector Dump Point - NIOSH Finds A Simple, Cost-Effective Solution For Reducing Dust For Blasthole Dills
Description:Researchers studying dust generation from blasthole drills developed a simple, quick fix that reduced respirable dust concentrations by more than 63% at the dump point. This device, which requires almost no maintenance, is small and inexpensive, and it will help operators maintain compliance to the dust standard. The thought process was that a reduction of respirable dust at any of the multiple sources on the drill, in this case the dust collector dump point, should reduce the total respirable dust generated by the drill. The U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) has a coal respirable dust standard of 2 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) for an 8-hour shift. MSHA and mine operators periodically collect personal dust samples to determine compliance with this dust standard. Drill operators have one of the highest exposure levels to respirable dust. This has been proven through many reviews of the MSHA dust sampling database. Prior to 1987, the highwall driller at surface coal mines had the most severe exposure to respirable silica dust, a trend that continues today based on MSHA's respirable dust sampling database. A review of the MSHA database for the years 1985 through 1992 shows that 81% of the respirable silica dust samples taken exceeded the permissible exposure limit for the highwall drill operator at surface coal mines. A more recent review of the MSHA database, for the years 1996 through 2000, shows that only 31% of the respirable silica dust samples taken exceeded the respirable silica dust limit for the highwall driller at surface coal mines. This suggests a substantial improvement in preventing the exposure of silica dust to the highwall drill operator. The drill operator, however, still tops the list of job occupations that have the highest exposure to respirable silica dust Respirable dust has been shown to be harmful to human health, especially when silica is present in the dust. It causes a disease known as silicosis, which can occur in three levels: chronic silicosis, which occurs after 10 years of exposure; accelerated silicosis, which occurs between 5 and 10 years of exposure; and acute silicosis, which can occur within a few weeks to five years of very high exposure to silica dust. Respirable dust consists of the dust particle size fraction whose median diameter is 4 micrometers ( m). The drilling machine generates high concentrations of respirable dust from several sources: drill table shroud leakage, dust leakage through the table bushing, dust discharge from the dust collector exhaust due to impaired filters, and dust entrained from the dust collector fines dumped onto the bench. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) Pittsburgh Research Lab (PRL) has been studying different methods to reduce respirable dust from these sources. During its testing, the institute identified a simple solution that reduces the amount of respirable dust generated at the collector dump point.
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