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Helmet-Cam: tool for assessing miners’ respirable dust exposure

Mining Engineering , 2013, Vol. 65, No. 9, pp. 78-84

Cecala, A.B.; Reed, W.R.; Joy, G.J.; Westmoreland, S.C.; O'Brien, A.D.


Video technology coupled with datalogging exposure monitors have been used to evaluate worker exposure to different types of contaminants. However, previous application of this technology used a stationary video camera to record the worker’s activity while the worker wore some type of contaminant monitor. These techniques are not applicable to mobile workers in the mining industry because of their need to move around the operation while performing their duties. The Helmet-Cam is a recently developed exposure assessment tool that integrates a person-wearable video recorder with a datalogging dust monitor. These are worn by the miner in a backpack, safety belt or safety vest to identify areas or job tasks of elevated exposure. After a miner performs his or her job while wearing the unit, the video and dust exposure data files are downloaded to a computer and then merged together through a NIOSH-developed computer software program called Enhanced Video Analysis of Dust Exposure (EVADE). By providing synchronized playback of the merged video footage and dust exposure data, the EVADE software allows for the assessment and identification of key work areas and processes, as well as work tasks that significantly impact a worker’s personal respirable dust exposure. The Helmet-Cam technology has been tested at a number of metal/nonmetal mining operations and has proven to be a valuable assessment tool. Mining companies wishing to use this technique can purchase a commercially available video camera and an instantaneous dust monitor to obtain the necessary data, and the NIOSH-developed EVADE software will be available for download at no cost on the NIOSH website.