Mine dust is hazardous. The risk of suffering from respiratory problems by workers should be approached holistically. The control approach needs to focus on elimination, isolation as well as substitution of the root cause of the hazard. In fact, the approach applied needs to completely treat or get rid of the cause of the hazard.
The elimination approach needs to focus of removing the hazard and the substation should involves finding a safer alternative. The isolation or separation approach needs to focus on putting workers in a safe locality or using barriers to avoid the dust. Wearing personal equipment can also be helpful in avoiding contact with the dust. However, when using any of the approach to control mine dust, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. It is important to consider the equipment or tools you are using. Also, the rules placed by the authorities need to be considered.
Actually, more than one option can be used for dust suppression. Water has been traditionally used to reduce the level of dust on haul roads or mining sites but it can only be effective when applied repeatedly. This can be very costly. Even though the adoption of production or mining processes that produce less dust has helped in reducing the level of dust, there still need to be a mechanism to completely get rid of larger percentage of dust that are airborne.
Before picking any dust control agent, it is important to know the source of the dust. Treating the dust or fumes at their source is much effective compared to capturing them after they have become airborne. Some of the techniques employed in treating airborne dust are chemical additives and water sprays. Other common suppression techniques are use of vacuum as well as local exhaust ventilations.
Sand blasts are major source of dust. The use of powders can also be dangerous because they produce lots of dust. Instead of using these substances, you need to use pellets as abrasive blasting agents. Most materials used by construction companies contain silica that can produce dust when cut with power tools. This means that the concentration of dust in the air will rise and lead to health complications. The control systems used to reduce the level of dust should be capable of reducing up to 90% of the airborne dust. The chemicals used for dust control can sometimes affect the surface of the road. It is important to make sure that the chemical or suppressant is capable of binding the finer particles of dust to prevent them escaping in to the air.
If the mine dust is properly controlled, the organization will not only be able to save money but also increase productivity. Also, the dust will be off air meaning the employees at the mining sites or people using the haul roads will not suffer from respiratory problems. When employees are safe and healthy, they work better thus, increasing productivity. Plus, when the surface of the haul road is good or free from dust, the levels of accidents are greatly reduced.
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