Key components for an effective filtration and pressurization system for mobile mining equipment
, 2014, Vol. 66, No. 1, pp. 44-50
Cecala, A.B.; Organiscak, J.A.; Noll, J.D.; Rider, J.P.
Enclosed cabs have been used for many years to isolate workers on mobile equipment in the mining industry for health and safety reasons. These enclosed cabs create a microenvironment for workers where they can be either more protected or more vulnerable to contaminants. Over the past decade, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has performed substantial research efforts to improve the air quality inside enclosed cabs of underground and surface mobile mining equipment. In these efforts, NIOSH has partnered with mining companies, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and manufacturers of filtration and pressurization systems in a synergistic effort to reduce respirable dust and improve the air quality inside these enclosed cabs. Various field studies over this time have shown an array of results ranging from very minor to very significant reductions (protection factor: 3-89) in respirable dust levels inside these enclosed cabs. In addition to and concurrent with the field work, NIOSH also performed a comprehensive laboratory study to evaluate all the factors involved in cab filtration and pressurization systems and identified those factors that were most significant for an effective system. From this comprehensive research effort, the key components for an effective filtration and pressurization system have been identified in an effort to provide the best air quality to equipment operators inside of enclosed cabs of mobile mining equipment, thus minimizing respirable dust exposure.