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Quick fixes to improve workers’ health: Results using engineering assessment technology

Mining Engineering , 2017, Vol. 69, No. 7, pp. 105-109

Haas, E.J.; Cecala, A.B.



Personal respirable dust sampling and the evaluation of control technologies have been providing exposure information to the mining industry but not necessarily in a way that shows how technology can be integrated to provide organizational support and resources for workers to mitigate dust sources on site. In response, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) used previously developed Helmet-CAM technology to design and engage in a behavioral/engineering cooperative intervention to initiate and enhance mine site conversations about the risks and potential occurrences of respirable silica dust exposures on the job as well as provide impetus and solutions for mitigating higher sources of dust. The study involved 48 workers from five mine sites, who agreed to participate between April 2015 and September 2016. Using the Helmet-CAM in this series of longitudinal interventions revealed several exposure trends in respirable silica dust sources and, in many cases, simple quick-fix strategies to reduce their sources. This paper focuses on several specific identified sources of dust that were elevated but could be reduced through basic engineering fixes, low-cost resources, and supportive communication from management to remind and engage workers in protective work practices.