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Dust: An Origin Story

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

The hero of this origin story is the operator who prevents dust. Particulate emissions in workplaces around the world are coming into acute focus, affecting the health and morale of workers, and inspiring stakeholders to seek solutions.

Dust: An Origin Story

Long-term exposure leading to chronic lung diseases is well-known, but medical studies have linked dust in bulk handling to kidney disease, heart disease, cancer, and even cognitive and memory issues. Many of these regulated particulates, such as respirable crystalline silica (RCS), are invisible to the naked eye, so staff working around a conveyor system are often unaware of the danger or the level of exposure.

Operators can protect staff by understanding how particulates become airborne at each stage of the conveying process, so that they can better assess the sources of dust within the system and the ways to mitigate those emissions. Some dust solutions are more complicated to solve than others. Modern conveyor equipment designs have taken dust into account and offer solutions that are easier to maintain and support workplace safety compliance.

Specs on dust specks

In the US, inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) equip trained workers with personal dust monitors that they wear throughout their shift. The small machines collect particulates from the air to measure RCS, heavy metals, and other regulated substances. The filters capture particulate matter (PM) smaller than 10 microns (µm) in size. In the case of RCS, the regulated measurement must be less than 50 micrograms (µg) in weight over an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA) – i.e. a single shift.

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Chinese mining news Mining equipment news