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.”


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