Monthly Archives: January 2020

Understanding the dust hazard in mines

Dust is a great hazard in mining and is the cause of many health issues.  Please follow the links provided to read the original article.

___________________________________________

Understanding the dust hazard in mines – Miners Health Matters

Understanding the dust hazard in mines

“By its very nature, the cutting and breaking of rocks during coal mining operations produces dust. But some equipment and methods generate more dust than others. This means that across your shift, different jobs come with different levels of respirable dust exposure.

In underground mines

Due to a higher production volume and an enclosed workspace, underground miners have a higher risk of dust exposure, especially in longwall operations, because:

Methods like pre-draining remove moisture, making the coal more prone to generating airborne respirable dust

Operation of the shearer and advancing roof supports are major contributors to airborne dust on longwalls
face slabbing, operation of armoured face conveyor (AFC), coal crushers, and discharge of beam stage loaders (BSL) to the conveyor belt produce additional dust

Workers located on the return side of the shearer and/or advancing supports are at a higher risk
operation of the cutting heads, roof bolting and loading of coal are major contributors of airborne dust in development panels

Cutting stone roof or floor in stone bands in the seam, or during roof bolting or drilling into sandstone, mudstone or dry drilling can result in increased silica exposure.

In open-cut mines

Most workers’ risk level is reduced by working in enclosed, air-conditioned cabins. However, you are at risk of exposure to both coal and silica dust when:

You perform tasks outside of a sealed cabin, particularly where drilling has recently occurred or is occurring

You work in areas where fine drill tailings remain on the ground

You conduct drilling or shot-firing operations, or dry drilling cabin sealing and ventilation measures fail or are ineffective

You don’t keep the cabin clean by wet wiping surfaces, as dust/mud from boots adds to the problem.

You mill and/or grind coal for sample preparation in laboratories

You conduct maintenance tasks on equipment and components that are coated in accumulated fine dust.

Due to these risks, CWP is more common in underground miners, although miners that work above ground have contracted the disease and are at risk where dust levels are not controlled.”

______________________________________________

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Replacing Coal with Gas

We need to think about renewable resources in all areas of life.  We need to take responsibility for our usage of resources in industry and mining.  Please follow the links to read the original article.

_________________________________________

Replacing coal with gas or renewables saves billions of gallons of water Phys.org

Replacing coal with gas or renewables saves billions of gallons of water

OCTOBER 22, 2019
by Duke University

“The ongoing transition from coal to natural gas and renewables in the U.S. electricity sector is dramatically reducing the industry’s water use, a new Duke University study finds.

“While most attention has been focused on the climate and air quality benefits of switching from coal, this new study shows that the transition to natural gas—and even more so, to renewable energy sources—has resulted in saving billions of gallons of water,” said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

These savings in both water consumption and water withdrawal have come despite the intensification of water use associated with fracking and shale gas production, the new study shows.

“For every megawatt of electricity produced using natural gas instead of coal, the amount of water withdrawn from local rivers and groundwater is reduced by 10,500 gallons, the equivalent of a 100-day water supply for a typical American household,” said Andrew Kondash, a postdoctoral researcher at Duke, who led the study as part of his doctoral dissertation under Vengosh.

Water consumption—the amount of water used by a power plant and never returned to the environment—drops by 260 gallons per megawatt, he said.

At these rates of reduction, if the rise of shale gas as an energy source and the decline of coal continues through the next decade, by 2030 about 483 billion cubic meters of water will be saved each year, the Duke study predicts.

If all coal-fired power plants are converted to natural gas, the annual water savings will reach 12,250 billion gallons—that’s 260% of current annual U.S. industrial water use.

Although the magnitude of water use for coal mining and fracking is similar, cooling systems in natural gas power plants use much less water in general than those in coal plants. That can quickly add up to substantial savings, since 40% of all water use in the United States currently goes to cooling thermoelectric plants, Vengosh noted.

“The amount of water used for cooling thermoelectric plants eclipses all its other uses in the electricity sector, including for coal mining, coal washing, ore and gas transportation, drilling and fracking,” he said.

Even further savings could be realized by switching to solar or wind energy. The new study shows that the water intensity of these renewable energy sources, as measured by water use per kilowatt of electricity, is only 1% to 2% of coal or natural gas’s water intensity.

“Switching to solar or wind energy would eliminate much of the water withdrawals and water consumption for electricity generation in the U.S.,” Vengosh said.

Natural gas overtook coal as the primary fossil fuel for electricity generation in the United States in 2015, mainly due to the rise of unconventional shale gas exploration. In 2018, 35.1% of U.S. electricity came from natural gas, while 27.4% came from coal, 6.5% came from wind energy, and 2.3% came from solar energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).”

____________________________________________________

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Vacuuming Wood Dust

Be careful when dealing with dust!  Please follow the links provided to read the original article.

________________________________

Vacuuming Wood Dust Can be Hazardous – Environmental Expert

Vacuuming Wood Dust

Dec. 2, 2016
Courtesy of SafetySmart

“It’s well known that wood dust is highly combustible, but the practice of removing it with vacuum trucks can also be dangerous, because of the potential buildup of static electricity.

WorkSafeBC has issued a bulletin stating that “static electricity discharges can ignite wood dust and therefore must be eliminated or adequately controlled during vacuuming.”

When wood dust or other fine, dry materials are vacuumed through a hose or pipe, the friction between the dust and the hose can generate static electricity. If the hose is made of a material that conducts electricity and is properly grounded, the static charge will safely dissipate into the earth.

However, WorkSafeBC notes that if the hose is non-conductive, a static charge will build up on its interior surface and could discharge with enough energy to ignite wood dust or other combustibles. Since plastic does not conduct electricity, plastic hoses are not safe to use for vacuuming wood dust unless they are embedded with a static wire.

Also, hoses that have ridged or corrugated interior surfaces should not be used for vacuuming wood dust. Using hoses with ridged interior surfaces results in more physical interaction between the dust particles—and between the dust particles and the hose—than using hoses with smooth interior surfaces. This increased interaction results in a static charge with higher amounts of static energy, making static discharge more likely.

WorkSafeBC says when vacuuming wood dust or other dry combustible materials, use only conductive hoses, nozzles and connectors that are designed to be used with those types of materials. If you are unsure whether a hose or other equipment is safe to use for vacuuming wood dust, check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Following are some additional wood dust vacuuming safety tips from WorkSafeBC:

Ensure that trucks are grounded directly to the earth or another verified ground before vacuuming starts. Also, hoses and all other parts of the truck and vacuum system should be properly bonded to each other.

Pay particular attention to ensuring proper bonding in baghouses (air pollution control devices), where the risk of dust ignition is high because of high volumes of dust and air that flow through them.

Ensure that vacuum trucks are regularly inspected and properly maintained. Pay particular attention to potential problem areas such as hoses, baghouses, vacuum pumps, collection boxes and filtration systems.

Conductive hoses should be tested regularly and removed from services if they have lost their conductivity.

Ensure that wood dust is safely removed before buildup of the dust could cause a fire or combustible dust explosion.

Ensure that workers follow manufacturers’ instructions, safe work procedures and occupational health and safety regulations, and are properly trained and supervised.”

_____________________________________________

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

New Year 2020

Happy New Year!!  May 2020 be a year of blessings and happiness.

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.