Mining is one of the most dangerous jobs on Earth. Mines pose a risk of collapsing, and they also stir up so much dust during normal operations that it becomes a health hazard to everyone in the vicinity. Miners have to deal with dust in the actual mines, and then on the surrounding roadways as well.
Thankfully, there are methods for controlling dust, both in and around mines, that are not only quick and cheap but incredibly effective as well. Let’s take a look at the best ways to combat this pervasive issue.
The Dangers of Dust
Dust is dangerous to miners in a variety of ways. First and foremost, it poses a respiratory threat and can cause choking, uncontrollable coughing, infections, and lung diseases that last forever.
Not only can it compromise the health of a miner for the rest of their life, it can make them more prone to accidents and mistakes on the job as well. Too much dust inhalation in a short period of time can cause brain fog, confusion, and a decrease in fine motor skills.
None of these symptoms make it safe to work in a mine, especially when using heavy equipment. Dust is typically kicked up around conveyor belts, points of transfer, hammer mills, and crushers, weigh belt feeders, ball mills, excavation sites, and roads and highways.
4 Ways to Reduce Dust in Mines
Thankfully, there are several excellent ways to reduce dust and create a safer work site. These four methods are some of the most efficient ways to approach dust control in mines.
Water is the cheapest way to address dust control in tunnels and underground. All you have to do is spray it wherever dust might be an issue and the dust will be too heavy to float in the air, thus preventing it from getting the lungs of workers.
Water is quick and effective, but it needs to be constantly reapplied and can make things muddy. For long-term mining operations, water is not a viable solution.
A more effective method of dust control is to implement proper ventilation. Fans and other escape routes for dirty air can be used to keep fresh, dust-free air circulating through the tunnels. It can be challenging to get an airflow going without kicking up dust, so ventilation is best combined with the use of water for the best results.
3. Dust Collectors
When water and proper ventilation alone aren’t enough, dust collectors can be brought in. Dust collectors are machines that suck up dust and store it so it can’t find it’s way back into the air. They are especially effective in tight spaces and tunnels or areas without access to good ventilation.
4. Permeable Pavement
Tunnels and underground areas are important to focus on, but it’s equally important to perform above-ground dust control as well. This can be a difficult proposition due to the high levels of dust kicked up during above-ground mining operations, but there is one method that’s proven to be effective. Permeable pavers filled with gravel can be implemented in a normally dusty surface.
After a shallow excavation of the area that needs dust control, you can fill in the area with gravel and interlock the TRUEGRID pavers over the top. Once the pavers have been laid, more gravel is used to fill the grid pavers to the top, but not overfilled. This allows the gravel to be supported and stabilized and prevents airborne particles due to pulverization.
This creates an area that is free of dust and capable of handling heavy traffic. For open-air, above-ground situations, TRUEGRID permeable pavers are the most effective solution for dust control, especially for long-term operations.
By installing permeable pavers on the worksite, you can eliminate the need for constant water-spraying as well as the need for sweeping, barriers, dust collectors, and chemical dust control methods.
Controlling Dust in Mines is a Top Priority
Dust isn’t just a nuisance or a hindrance to work operations, it can be harmful and even deadly to employees if left unchecked. In order to control dust, you need to use a multi-faceted approach at mining sites. Methods like spraying water, ensuring good ventilation, and using dust collectors are all effective for underground dust control, and can even be combined for maximum dust control.
Above-ground, the best way to control dust is to install TRUEGRID permeable pavers. They are quick to install, durable enough to handle massive vehicles, and will keep dust controlled for as long as you have them installed.
Contact TRUEGRID today if you want to reduce on-site dust.