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Improving protection against respirable dust at an underground crusher booth

Mining Engineering , 2018, Vol. 70, No. 11, pp. 48-52

Patts, J.R.; Cecala, A.B.; Rider, J.P.; Organiscak, J.A.



The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health completed a 15-month study at an underground limestone mine crusher booth that evaluated three research parameters: (1) the effectiveness of a filtration and pressurization system for improving the air quality inside the operator booth, (2) the relative effectiveness of η > 99 and η > 95 experimental prototype filters in the system, and (3) the performance of three different cab pressure monitoring devices. The protection factor was quantified monthly using particle counters in the respirable dust range of 0.3 to 1 µm particle size, and gravimetric dust samples were gathered at the beginning and end of the overall study. Under static (closed-door) conditions, the filtration unit offered a gravimetric calculated protection factor between 10 and 31, depending on the filter type and loading condition. The monthly particle counting analysis shows that the η > 95 filter offers a protection factor nearly five times that of the η > 99 filter, where n = 15 samples. The booth pressure monitors were tested and proved to be a valid indicator of system performance over time.