Real-Time Personal Dust Monitor Passes Early Test

An early test shows coal miners will pay attention to the readings shown on a personal dust monitor they're wearing and will make adjustment to reduce their dust exposures as a result. These findings come from "Miners' Views About Personal Dust Monitors," a NIOSH report posted by the agency last week.

The authors gave a recently developed monitor that provides near-real-time feedback about respirable coal dust in miners' breathing air to 30 miners at four underground mines in Utah and West Virginia. The miners wore them for a month and then were interviewed about them; one of the mines used continuous mining machinery only, and the other three used longwall mining equipment and continuous mining machines. Nineteen of the miners had more than 10 years of experience, and only one had less than two years.

The miners' responses showed two-thirds of them checked the monitor screen at least three times a day, and nearly all of them noticed the numbers tended to fluctuate throughout the day. Seventeen of the 30 said the displayed numbers were sometimes surprising to them, and all but one of these 17 said they were surprised by how high the numbers were.

Asked what they did in response, the miners reported 27 actions: 15 changed position, three changed ventilation, four changed both, and one wore his respirator more often. In 22 cases, the miners said they had checked their numbers after making the change(s) and found the numbers had dropped.

The monitor allows a miner to take a new "second sample" during the workday, but only 11 miners reported using this feature, so the NIOSH authors say more instruction or encouragement may be needed on this point. The report (www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/pubs/pdfs/2008-110.pdf) addresses possible reasons -- weight, screen illumination, etc. -- that might make miners reluctant to use the devices, but, encouragingly, it says 18 of the miners preferred this device to older-technology dust monitors they have worn.

The device was developed by NIOSH, the Bituminous Coal Operators' Association, the United Mine Workers of America, the National Mining Association, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Inc.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • EHS Management Software Buyer's Guide

    Download this buyer's guide to make more informed decisions as you're looking for an EHS management software system for your organization.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark FR Quiz

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - March 2021

    March 2021

    Featuring:

    • EMPLOYEE TESTING
      The Impact of COVID-19 on Drug Testing
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      Preparing for Unpredictable Spring Weather
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Building a Comprehensive Floor Safety Strategy
    • GAS DETECTION
      Gas Hazards and the COVID-19 Vaccine
    View This Issue