Finer Coal Dust Changes Formula for Preventing Explosions

NIOSH on Aug. 21 said more inert material should be spread in the intake airways of underground bituminous coal mines because coal dust found in those mines today is much finer, and thus more explosive, than in mines of the 1920s.

The composition of rock dust that is spread inside intake and return airways of underground bituminous coal mines to reduce the explosive potential of coal dust should be increased because new tests have shown the coal dust in today's mines is typically finer, and therefore more explosive, than it was decades ago. NIOSH announced the findings yesterday in a publication seeking comments by Sept. 30.

Rock dust is the primary method of preventing explosions in these mines. Current MSHA regulations require that intake airways contain at least 65 percent incombustible content and return airways contain at least 80 percent, the latter being higher because finer coal dust tends to collect there, NIOSH said. The regulations were based on a 1920s survey of coal dust particle size and explosion tests conducted in the U.S. Bureau of Mines' Bruceton Experimental Mine, the agency said. But now, NIOSH and MSHA have done a joint survey showing the coal dust found in mines today is much finer than in mines of the 1920s, "presumably due to increased automation and a greater reliance on mining machinery," according to NIOSH.

So the agency on Aug. 21 recommended a new standard of 80 percent incombustible content for intake airways, as well. The current requirement of 80 percent in return airways does not need to be changed, it said.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • 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.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Analyze Incident Data

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January / February 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue