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Roof Screening for Underground Coal Mines: Recent Developments
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  • Description:
    Falls of small pieces of rock from between roof bolts continue to cause fatalities and to injure hundreds of coal miners each year. Roof screen is the most effective way to prevent these incidents, but some mines are reluctant to use it because they believe installing screen can be awkward, expensive and time-consuming. The most common type of roof bolting machine used in mines today is the dual boom, outside-controlled roof bolter. Mines who install roof screen using these machines have developed some machine modifications and techniques to ease roof screen installation. This paper describes some successful techniques and machine modifications that are being used in productive mines to assist with roof screen installation. Since the material handling involved with roof screen installation can expose miners to an increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) ergonomists, designed machine modifications and implemented a series of tests to evaluate roof screen handling procedures for outside-controlled, dual boom roof bolting machines. Roof screen installation can also have a positive economic impact on a mine by reducing the cost of injuries, workers’ compensation, required spot or re-bolting, and clean-up of long term travel and belt entries.

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