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Noise Impact Assessment and Control

Assignment II

Department of Mining Engineering


National Institute of Technology, Rourkela

Noise Control in Opencast Mines, Underground


Mines and Mineral Processing Plants.

Submitted by:
ABHIJEET DUTTA
711MN1172

Table of Contents
1

Introduction ........................................................................................................................................... 8
1.1

Sources of Noise ........................................................................................................................... 9

1.2

Effect of Noise on Hearing Mechanism ...................................................................................... 10

1.3

Noise Abatement Methods .......................................................................................................... 10

1.4

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss ....................................................................................................... 10

1.5

Three Variables of Noise Exposure ............................................................................................ 11

1.6

Noise Dosimeters ........................................................................................................................ 11

1.7

The Role of Engineering Noise Controls in Reducing NIHL ..................................................... 12

Noise Control in Opencast Mines ....................................................................................................... 13


2.1

Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 13

2.2

Equipment Specifications ........................................................................................................... 13

2.3

Facilities Design Philosophy ....................................................................................................... 13

2.4

Industrial Area ............................................................................................................................ 13

2.5

Truck Dump Station .................................................................................................................... 14

2.6

Dragline Operations .................................................................................................................... 14

2.7

Coal Transport ............................................................................................................................ 14

2.8

Conveyors ................................................................................................................................... 14

2.9

Coal Preparation Plant and Transfer Station Cladding ............................................................... 14

2.10

Crushing and Screening Station .................................................................................................. 15

2.11

Bins ............................................................................................................................................. 15

2.12

Stockpile Equipment ................................................................................................................... 15

2.13

Construction Activities ............................................................................................................... 16

2.14

Operational Results ..................................................................................................................... 16

2.14.1

Mobile Equipment............................................................................................................... 16

2.14.2

Fixed Plant .......................................................................................................................... 18

2.15

Evaluating Noise Controls for Haul Trucks (Case Study) .......................................................... 19

2.15.1

Absorptive Material ............................................................................................................ 19

2.15.2

Partial Engine Enclosures ................................................................................................... 21

2.15.3

Sealing Gaps ....................................................................................................................... 23

2.15.4

Evaluating Noise Controls for Jumbo Drills and Bolters .................................................... 23

2.15.5

Absorptive Material in Canopy ........................................................................................... 24

2.15.6

Absorptive Material on Sides of the Cab Around Operator Area ....................................... 25

2.15.7

Absorptive Material in Lower Front of Cab ....................................................................... 26


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2.15.8
3

Windshields......................................................................................................................... 27

Noise Control in Underground Mines ................................................................................................. 31


3.1

Hierarchy of Noise Control ......................................................................................................... 31

3.2

Barriers and Sound-Absorbing Materials.................................................................................... 31

3.3

Noise Control Resource Guide MSHA ..................................................................................... 32

3.3.1

Noise Exposure Reduction .................................................................................................. 33

3.3.2

Dose from Multiple Noise Sources ..................................................................................... 34

3.3.3

Acoustical Materials ........................................................................................................... 35

3.3.4

Installation Methods ............................................................................................................ 36

3.3.5

Compliance Assistance ....................................................................................................... 36

3.4

Continuous Miners - Auger Type ............................................................................................... 38

3.4.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 38

3.4.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 38

3.4.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 40

3.5

Continuous Miners - Drum Type ................................................................................................ 40

3.5.1

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) ........................................................................ 41

3.5.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 41

3.5.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 43

3.5.4

Administrative Controls ...................................................................................................... 43

3.6

Conveyors Chain ...................................................................................................................... 43

3.6.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 43

3.6.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 43

3.6.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 45

3.6.4

Administrative Controls ...................................................................................................... 45

3.7

Fan Systems Mine Ventilation ................................................................................................. 45

3.8

Hand-Held Pneumatic and Electro-Pneumatic Drills ................................................................. 45

3.8.1

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) ........................................................................ 46

3.8.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 46

3.8.3

Alternate Technology .......................................................................................................... 46

3.9

Load-Haul-Dump ........................................................................................................................ 46

3.9.1

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) ........................................................................ 47

3.9.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 47

3.9.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 47

3.10

Loaders Face ............................................................................................................................ 48


Page 2 of 89

3.10.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 48

3.10.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 48

3.10.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 49

3.11

Locomotives - Diesel .................................................................................................................. 49

3.11.1

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) ........................................................................ 49

3.11.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 49

3.12

Longwalls - Shear and Plow ....................................................................................................... 50

3.12.1

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) ...................................................................... 50

3.12.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 50

3.12.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 51

3.12.4

Maintenance ........................................................................................................................ 51

3.13

Mantrips Rail-Mounted ............................................................................................................ 51

3.13.1

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) ........................................................................ 51

3.13.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 52

3.14

Roof Bolters ................................................................................................................................ 53

3.14.1

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) ........................................................................ 53

3.14.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 54

3.14.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 55

3.15

Roof Scalers ................................................................................................................................ 55

3.15.1

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) ........................................................................ 55

3.15.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 56

3.16

Shuttle Cars - Diesel ................................................................................................................... 56

3.16.1
3.17

Case Study: Field Studies by MSHA .......................................................................................... 57

3.18

Evaluating Noise Controls for 4 Load-Haul-Dumps: Field Studies by MSHA .......................... 57

3.18.1

Engine Enclosure ................................................................................................................ 57

3.18.2

Engine Enclosure 2 ............................................................................................................. 59

3.18.3

Enclosed Operator Cab ....................................................................................................... 62

3.19
4

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) ........................................................................ 56

Adapting Active Noise Control Headsets for the Mining Industry ............................................. 64

Noise Control in Mineral Processing Plants ....................................................................................... 66


4.1

Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 66

4.2

Static Processing Plant ................................................................................................................ 66

4.3

Mobile Operations ...................................................................................................................... 66

4.4

Permanent Installation of Plant ................................................................................................... 67


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4.5

Monitoring .................................................................................................................................. 67

4.6

Waste Disposal Facilities ............................................................................................................ 67

4.7

Engineering Controls .................................................................................................................. 67

4.7.1

Barriers ................................................................................................................................ 68

4.7.2

Equipment Controls ............................................................................................................ 68

4.7.3

Other Controls ..................................................................................................................... 69

4.8

Administrative Controls .............................................................................................................. 69

4.9

Centrifugal Dewaterers ............................................................................................................... 69

4.9.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 70

4.9.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 70

4.9.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 70

4.10

Chutes ......................................................................................................................................... 70

4.10.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 71

4.10.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 71

4.10.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 73

4.11

Compressors/Compressed Air..................................................................................................... 73

4.11.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 73

4.11.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 73

4.11.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 75

4.12

Crushers ...................................................................................................................................... 75

4.12.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 75

4.12.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 76

4.12.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 79

4.13

Hoppers ....................................................................................................................................... 80

4.13.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 80

4.13.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 80

4.13.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 81

4.14

Mills ............................................................................................................................................ 82

4.14.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 82

4.14.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 82

4.14.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 83

4.15

Motors ......................................................................................................................................... 83

4.15.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 83

4.15.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 84


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4.15.3
4.16

Pumps .......................................................................................................................................... 84

4.16.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 84

4.16.2

Retrofit Noise Controls ....................................................................................................... 85

4.16.3

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 85

4.17

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 84

Screens Classifying .................................................................................................................. 86

4.17.1

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).......................................................................... 86

4.17.2

Retrofit Noise Controls (Screens with built-in noise controls) ........................................... 86

4.17.3

Retrofit Noise Controls (Screens without noise controls) ................................................... 87

4.17.4

Alternative Technology....................................................................................................... 87

References ........................................................................................................................................... 88

Page 5 of 89

List of Figures
Figure 1: Haul Truck ................................................................................................................................. 19
Figure 2: Haul truck with vinyl-covered material installed in the area in front of the operator. ............... 20
Figure 3: Haul truck with vinyl-covered material installed in canopy above the operator. ....................... 21
Figure 4: Partial engine enclosure. ............................................................................................................. 22
Figure 5: Haul truck with sound-absorbing material installed in canopy and depiction of how sound may
enter the operator area, reaching operator before padding. ......................................................................... 22
Figure 6: Heavy conveyor belt barrier. ...................................................................................................... 24
Figure 7: Fiberglass blanket barrier. .......................................................................................................... 24
Figure 8: Plexiglas motor cover. ................................................................................................................ 24
Figure 9: One-inch-thick quilted fiberglass blanket being removed for testing. ....................................... 25
Figure 10: Quilted fiberglass material in the operators area. .................................................................... 26
Figure 11: Quilted fiberglass material in the lower front of the operators area of bolter 2. ..................... 26
Figure 12: Wind Shields for Protection ..................................................................................................... 27
Figure 13: Wind Shields for protection...................................................................................................... 28
Figure 14: Continuous Miners - Auger Type ............................................................................................. 38
Figure 15: Areas Where Retrofit Noise Controls can be Applied to an Auger-Type Continuous Miner .. 38
Figure 16: Installation of Wear Strips on Pan Line.................................................................................... 39
Figure 17: Full Coverage Treatment to Both Upper and Lower Pan Lines ............................................... 39
Figure 18: Sand-Filled Auger Cutting Head .............................................................................................. 40
Figure 19: Areas Where Retrofit Noise Controls May be Applied on a Continuous Miner Drum Type 41
Figure 20: Constrained-Layer Damping of Conveyor Pan Using Individual Strip.................................... 41
Figure 21: Example of Layering Applied to Motor Covers ....................................................................... 42
Figure 22: Constrained-Layer Damping of Conveyor Pan Using Individual Strips .................................. 44
Figure 23: Constrained-Layer Damping of Conveyor Pan Using Full Coverage ...................................... 44
Figure 24: Areas Where Retrofit Noise Controls Should be Installed ....................................................... 48
Figure 25: Absorption Material Used to Insulate Inner Surfaces of Cabs or Passenger Compartment ..... 52
Figure 26: Left side of the engine enclosure .............................................................................................. 58
Figure 27: Front and back of the steel panels insulated with 1.5-inch-thick fiberglass. ............................ 58
Figure 28: LHD partial engine enclosure, right side. ................................................................................. 59
Figure 29: Left side partial engine enclosure. ............................................................................................ 60
Figure 30: Quilted absorber inside the engine compartment. .................................................................... 60
Figure 31: Right side and top of engine compartment. .............................................................................. 61
Figure 32: In-cab one-third-octave band spectrum for LHD2 at high idle with engine compartment open.
.................................................................................................................................................................... 61
Figure 33: Open cell foam used for in-cab sound absorption. ................................................................... 62
Figure 34: Enclosed cab with glass in place .............................................................................................. 62
Figure 35: Barriers ..................................................................................................................................... 68
Figure 36: Noise Damping Material Applied at a Conveyor Transfer Point ............................................. 72
Figure 37: Noise Damping Material Applied to the Base of a Chute ........................................................ 72
Figure 38: Example of a 90-degree Elbow ................................................................................................ 75
Figure 39: Installation of a Resilient Crusher Feed Plate .......................................................................... 77
Figure 40: Installation of a Resilient Crusher Feed Cone Shell ................................................................. 78
Figure 41: Installation of One-Piece Resilient Crusher Feed Core Liner .................................................. 78
Figure 42: Barrier Curtain for Crusher Mainframe Feed Core Liner ......................................................... 79

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List of Tables
Table 1: Sound level at the haul truck operators position, surface measurement ..................................... 20
Table 2: Sound level at the haul truck operators position, underground measurement ............................ 21
Table 3: Sound level for haul truck at the operators position, surface measurement ............................... 21
Table 4: Sound level for jumbo drills and bolters at the operators position, underground ....................... 23
Table 5: Sound level of jumbo drills and bolters at the operators position .............................................. 25
Table 6: Sound level of bolters 2, 3, 4, and 5 at the operators position .................................................... 29
Table 7: Data for Example Calculations Involving Multiple Sound Sources ............................................ 34
Table 8: Sound level for LHD1 at the operators position, high idle ......................................................... 59
Table 9: Sound level for LHD2 at the operators position, high idle ......................................................... 61
Table 10: Sound level for LHD3 at the operators position, high idle, underground measurement .......... 63

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1 Introduction
One of the highest prevalent chronic diseases in the mining industry, as per National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), is Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Some of the other
industries where high risk of NIHL exists are wood product manufacturing, building construction, and real
estate. It has been concluded after a lot of examination on the audiograms on workers that there is a need
for better noise controls and hearing conservation strategies in mining, manufacturing and construction
sectors.
One of the most common and preventable causes of NIHL is noise exposure. Though it is entirely
preventable, but once acquired, it is totally irreversible. Pressure generated by high noise caused over 96%
of workerss compensation claims for hearing loss in the early 2000s. Ageing, which is a non-work factor
also causes hearing loss. But all man-made high noises act as additives to further increase the hearing loss
of a worker at workplace. Audiometric results are the correct methodology to access the effects of NIHL
vis--vis work related and non-work related hearing losses.
People working in mines (underground or open cast mines) have the highest incident of noise-induced
hearing loss among all occupations. Nearly 80% of miners are exposed to noise levels that exceed 85 dBA.
About 25% of these miners are exposed to noise levels higher than the 90 dBA Permissible Exposure Limit
(PEL). Ninety per cent of all coal miners above the age of 50 have a hearing impairment. By the time coal
miners retire, they are nearly guaranteed a moderate hearing loss.
The use of heavy equipment, the drilling of rock, and the confined work environment all contribute to high
levels of noise exposure in mining. As a result, as many as 70% of all miners have NIHL significant enough
to be considered a disability. In one study, it was found that almost half of the workforce of these miners
never used hearing protectors. One NIOSH study found that by age 50, about 90% of coal miners and 49%
of metal/nonmetal miners had a hearing impairment (as compared with 10% of the non-occupational noiseexposed population). Simply stated, most miners have a hearing loss by retirement.
Many programs are underway to help reduce work-related noise induced hearing loss in the mining sector.
Jurisdictions are undertaking or planning a significant amount of work in inspections and auditing, targeting
highest risk sectors. Noise induced hearing loss is irreversible; therefore it is important to prevent exposure
at the earliest possible opportunities. Many awareness programs have encouraged more companies to
introduce a noise policy, and a noise control and hearing loss prevention program.
One of the major focus is to make the companies aware of the possibilities of using the higher levels
(elimination, substitution and engineering control), and encouraging them to think about opportunities. The
feasibility of engineering or administrative noise controls is related to total cost of application and overall
effectiveness of the control in reducing noise. Retrofit engineering controls have been shown to be largely
ineffective, and the development of quieter mining equipment has been slow. To date, these approaches
have not led to an acceptable reduction of NELs.
As part of these awareness campaigns, opportunities lie in training in the use of hearing protectors (eg, how to
fit properly), choosing appropriately and in customising the fitting (eg, by the use of custom-moulded devices).
Education and training have a significant role to play in preventing work related hearing loss. With rate of hearing
loss greatest in the first 10 years of exposure, it is important to prevent exposure at the earliest possible
opportunities.

Noise exposure and noise-induced hearing loss are still prevalent in the mining industry. Most of the risk
comes from the need to use heavy machinery underground, but careful design and new technology and
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materials can be used to minimise this. Some degree of residual hearing protection may well be required,
but this should be part of a well-designed hearing protection programme.
Noise arising out of prospecting mining beneficiations or metallurgical operations shall be abated or
controlled by the holder of prospecting licence or a mining lease at the source so as to keep it within the
permissible limit.
Noise level standards:
-Operational/working zone-not to exceed 85 dB (A) Leq for 8 hours exposure
-The ambient air quality standards in respect of noise as notified under the Environmental (protection)
Rules, 1986, shall be followed at the boundary line of the coal washery.
Works carried out in order to expand productivity in the mining industry have pointed out the necessity to
utilize larger machinery in parallel with improvements in technology. An increase in mechanisation also
has resulted in an increase in noise levels, leading underground and open pit mines and mineral processing
plants to generate enormous levels of noise. Occupational noise in underground mines has reached
unbearable levels due to the reverberant nature of the narrower spaces. Therefore, it is hard to find a
relatively low-noise environment for workers. Although the equipment employed in open pits are
comparatively larger in size than the ones encountered underground, they may be said to be less significant
as the noise emitted from them easily spreads hemi-spherically in the free sound field. In reality, the noise
occurring during extraction works (i.e. drilling-blasting, excavation, loading and transporting) that take
place in both open and underground pits is noteworthy when considering labour health and job performance
as the highest disease and illness rates in mining continue to be mine workers permanent or temporary
hearing loss
Additionally, it appears that noise can account for quickened pulse rates, increased blood pressure and a
narrowing of the blood vessels. Workers exposed to noise sometimes complain of nervousness,
sleeplessness and fatigue. Therefore, it is of foremost importance to conduct research on this matter to give
suggestions to mine management with respect to the health of workers and maximizing the competence in
productiveness. In comparison with the levels of noise exposure in various industries (airport, forest
machinery, cement industry, foundry, textile industry, printing, metal plate workshop, ship engine room,
riveting workshop), noise levels encountered in the open cast mining industry are second only to that
encountered near jet engines at airports. Noise-induced hearing loss usually occurs initially at high
frequencies (3k, 4k, or 6k Hz), and then spreads to the low frequencies (0.5k, 1k, or 2k Hz).

1.1

Sources of Noise

Noise, defined as undesirable sound, is a by-product in many industries. This is particularly true for mining.
Many miners are exposed not only to loud but sustained noise levels. Most of the large excavation
equipment utilized at open pits are not said to be responsible for the excessive noise levels as they are
mostly equipped with noise-protected operator cabs. However, excavators with lower capacity and mobile
diesel-powered machines have been accepted as the primary noise sources in surface mining activities. On
the other hand, equipment such as continuous miners, stage loaders, shearers, compressors, fans and
pneumatic drilling machines may be counted as the main contributors to excessive noise levels in
underground mining. Additionally, equipment like vibrating screens, rotating breakers and mills which are
commonly in use in most of the mineral processing plants may be defined as the important sources of noise.
The length of period during which workers are exposed to excessive noise is rather important as it takes a
foremost role in distinguishing the type of hearing loss being either temporary or permanent.
Page 9 of 89

The parameters which are effective for hearing loss due to noise are exposure period, noise level, age of
workers and physical condition of workers (existence of other illness etc.). For most effects of noise, there
is no cure. However, prevention of excessive noise exposure is the only way to avoid health damage.

1.2

Effect of Noise on Hearing Mechanism

Upon receiving an acoustic signal, pressure changes occurring in the auditory canal move the drum
membrane. The bones called hammer, anvil and stirrup, which are located behind the eardrum are connected
in a chain between the tympanic membrane and the round window of the cochlea. In the case of these bones
being exposed to noise, they start to vibrate. Therefore, the sound energy caused by this vibration is
converted into mechanical energy and then into hydraulic energy in the cochlea. The motion in the cochlea
will affect the small hair-like cells in the cochlea depending on the electrical signal frequency. When a cell
is stimulated it sends an electrical signal to the brain. The loss of hearing in the inner ear, apart from natural
diseases, may be faced in the case of small hair-like cells becoming damaged or weakened due to excessive
noise levels for a long period. Noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable but once acquired, hearing
loss is permanent and unfortunately irreversible. Miners have to put up with a variety of noise sources
during their daily working environment. Contrary to popular thought, hearing loss arising from instant high
levels of noise rarely happen; however, the main cause is prolonged levels of sound.

1.3

Noise Abatement Methods

Efforts made to reduce excessive noises from any source to tolerable levels by changing acoustic features
and decreasing the period of exposure may be covered as the principles of noise control. It should be
noted that noise controls and administrative actions should be the first line of defence. These methods
may be classified into three groups:
a) Equipment practice: This practice relates directly to the selection and utilization of mining machinery
to obtain reduced noise levels.
b) Operational and administrative practice: This practice is also related to the design and execution of the
mining operation to obtain reduced noise exposure.
c) Engineering noise controls: Removing hazardous noise from the workplace by means of engineering
controls is the most effective way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. For this purpose, equipment
hardware changes are implemented, especially to reduce machine noise emission levels.

1.4

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the most common occupational illness in the United States, with 30
million workers exposed to excessive noise levels [NIOSH 1996] every day. Of particular concern is the
mining industry; which has the highest prevalence of hazardous noise exposure of any major industry sector
[Tak et al. 2009] and is second only to the railroad industry in prevalence of workers reporting hearing
difficulty [Tak and Calvert 2008]. This document is for operators, safety personnel, and mechanics in the
mining industry who are not specialists in noise control engineering or acoustics. Evaluations of successful
and unsuccessful attempts at controlling noise on several large, underground metal mining machines are
detailed to illustrate the basic principles of noise control.

Once personnel understand the guidelines and principles of noise control, they will be able to
evaluate the extent of a noise problem;

Page 10 of 89

determine the best approach to the problem; and


apply the most appropriate solution.
Because of the insidious nature of NIHL, it can go unnoticed until a considerable loss of hearing has
occurred. In some cases, diagnosis is delayed because an exposed individual claims to have become
accustomed to the noise. In reality, that person may have already suffered irreversible hearing loss. Humans
can hear sounds in the frequency range from about 20 to 20,000 Hertz (Hz). Within this range, NIHL usually
begins in the frequency region around 4,0006,000 Hz, the upper levels of the speech region. The first
noticeable symptoms include difficulty understanding higher pitched voices, such as the voices of females
and children, and difficulty understanding certain consonant sounds, which are primarily high frequency in
nature. The extent of NIHL varies depending on the level and duration of noise exposure and on an
individuals susceptibility; despite having similar noise exposure, individuals can experience differing
degrees of hearing loss, or none at all. NIHL is almost always preventable. To reduce or eliminate the
possibility of NIHL, an individuals noise environment must be analyzed and appropriate action taken to
reduce noise exposure.

1.5

Three Variables of Noise Exposure

The three elemental components to consider when devising an engineering noise control are source, path,
and receiver, which interact with each other to produce a unique situation for a given environment; the same
source can yield different sound levels when the path or the location of the receiver is changed. Engineering
noise controls can be implemented to reduce the amount of sound energy generated by the noise source and
to divert the flow of sound energy from the propagation path, all with the aim of protecting the receiver
(worker) from being exposed to high levels of sound energy.

1.6

Noise Dosimeters

To determine the amount of noise workers are exposed to during the course of their day, workers can wear
noise dosimeters. A dosimeter is designed to be worn on a person during all or part of a work shift, and it
measures and stores sound levels and computes total noise exposure. Dosimeters are especially useful in
environments where the noise levels are variable or intermittent or when workers move to and from different
areas of a plant or mine during the course of a work shift. If sound levels are constant and the worker does
not move, a sound level meter (SLM) can also be used to assess exposure. The procedure for using SLMs
to measure noise and assess exposure is detailed in Appendix C. Dosimeters and SLMs incorporate filters
or weighting networksthat can be applied to affect the meters sensitivity to desired sound frequencies.
The weighting is performed according to accepted standards. The A-weighting network approximates
human perception of the loudness of low level sounds (around 40 dB). It is the most widely used weighting
network because it is a reasonable estimator of the risk of NIHL. Without weighting in place, the SLM
would indicate the same sound pressure level for sound waves having the same amount of physical energy
regardless of the sounds frequency. In reality, very low and high frequency sounds are less damaging than
mid frequency sounds. so A-weighting de-emphasizes the extreme frequencies. In the test examples in the
following sections, the A-weighted scale is used, resulting in A-weighted decibels symbolized by units of
dB(A).* A dosimeter must be calibrated before and after each measurement period with a calibrator that
fits the specific type of microphone for the meter. The pre-measurement calibration is necessary to ensure
the instrument is functioning properly prior to making measurements. The post-measurement calibration is
especially important in a mining environment because the instrument is likely to be subjected to jolting and
jarring during a work shift and because temperature or humidity extremes could affect the accuracy of the
meter. The microphone, the most fragile part of the instrument, is especially susceptible to damage. The
documentation provided by the instrument manufacturer should give the valid operating ranges for
Page 11 of 89

humidity, pressure, and temperature. The SLM should be calibrated by a qualified laboratory at the interval
recommended by the manufacturer, typically every 1-2 years. Their calibration should be traceable to the
National Institute of Standards and Technology. Proper placement of the dosimeter microphone is
important. ANSI S12.19-1996, Measurement of Occupational Noise Exposure, specifies that the
microphone should be located on the mid-top of the wearers most noise-exposed shoulder. The microphone
should be set approximately parallel to the plane of wearers shoulder, and the cable should be routed and
fastened such that it does not interfere with job performance or create a safety hazard. For miners, the best
place to attach the dosimeter case is usually the miners belt.

1.7

The Role of Engineering Noise Controls in Reducing NIHL

The mining industry recognizes how important engineering noise controls are in reducing noise exposure
during underground operations. But, because of the relatively small market for mining equipment,
manufacturers have limited incentives to develop less noisy machinery or more innovative noise controls.
Also, the specialized equipment designs imposed by the sometimes-hostile mining environment has limited
the transfer of noise control technologies from other industries. Despite this lack of proven control
technologies, mine operators work with whats available to try to create noise control solutions at the mine
level. However, many operators install noise treatments without knowing how much noise reduction to
expect or how much noise reduction is actually achieved after installation. In some cases, because of
improper material selection, placement, or installation, the noise treatment reduces sound littleif any. In
other cases, noise treatments are applied when the source sound level does not warrant treatment, thus
wasting effort and resources. Unsuccessful noise controls cost the industry time and money, and they do
nothing to decrease workers risk of NIHLthough they give the false impression that the problem, if there
is one, has been addressed.

Page 12 of 89

2 Noise Control in Opencast Mines


2.1

Introduction

Bridges et al (1998) identified certain areas specifically as being likely sources of noise emission. These
included:
Mobile equipment
Conveyor systems
Bins
Coal preparation plant (this building includes vibrating screens, vibrating centrifuges etc.)
Train loading

2.2

Equipment Specifications

To minimize noise generation, all potential vendors were required to guarantee noise levels for their
equipment, and the values provided by the vendors were a major factor in the choice of equipment
purchased. In several cases the company purchased equipment which was not the lowest price, but had the
lowest noise emissions.
This applied to mobile as well as fixed plant. Where equipment suppliers could not guarantee acceptable
noise levels from standard designs, the company engaged in negotiations with the equipment manufacturers,
in order to modify their equipment to meet the noise requirements. For mobile equipment, this involved the
use of acoustic panels, shrouds and louvres. One major approach adopted was to shut the dragline down
between the hours of 1 pm on Saturdays and 7 am on Mondays during the initial few months when the
dragline was working in unshielded areas. This represented 42 hours out of a week of 168 hours, or 25% of
the total available time, which was a significant financial and productivity sacrifice on the part of the
company.

2.3

Facilities Design Philosophy

Measures adopted at the outset of the project included:


Construction of large earth embankments to shield nearby properties
Locating the truck dump station in a pit
Incorporation of an overland conveyor for raw coal transport instead of traditional truck haulage
Enclosure of many conveyors
Complete enclosure of the coal preparation plant and transfer stations
Sealing of floors within the coal preparation plant wherever possible.

2.4

Industrial Area

The main industrial area, including raw and clean coal stockpiles, is enclosed on the southern and eastern
sides by a 20 metre high embankment. Not only has this resulted in reduced noise emissions in these

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directions, but it has also provided a visual barrier, so that the visual amenity of the area from the south and
east is that of a rolling hill, with only the very tops of one or two structures visible.

2.5

Truck Dump Station

The truck dump station is located at the eastern end of the property closest to the pit, minimising noisy truck
movements across the site. The dump hopper has been constructed in a pit, so that much of the structure,
hopper, and unenclosed equipment is below ground level. The station, and trucks moving in the area around
the station have also been shielded by an embankment. The truck dump area is enclosed on three sides by
a double-sheeted structure, and is only open to the west (the mine side). Thus the noise from dumping is
constrained within the dump station and to the west. This enclosure has the additional advantage of
minimizing any dust generated during the dumping operation. The design of the structure was also selected
to blend into the surrounding landscape.

2.6

Dragline Operations

The dragline operation commenced at the eastern end of the lease, so that the dragline would quickly be
hidden behind the spoil piles acting as noise barriers. Contouring and seeding of the spoil piles will
quickly give them a more natural appearance.

2.7

Coal Transport

It is common practice to use truck haulage to deliver coal to the processing plant. However, to constrain
truck noise within the pit as much as possible, at Bengalla the coal is transported to the nearby truck dump
station for primary crushing, and then is carried by a 4 km long overland conveyor to the stockpile and
processing area.

2.8

Conveyors

All elevated conveyors are fully enclosed outside the coal preparation plant. The overland raw coal
conveyor is sheeted on the southern/eastern side, and roofed. The stockpile area conveyors, which are inside
the main industrial area embankment, cannot be enclosed due to the operations of the stackers and
reclaimers. The fully enclosed elevated gantries include a concrete floor and corrugated steel sheeting walls
and roof. All conveyors have been constructed with specially machined idlers, while the overland conveyor
has been constructed with idlers which are also specially balanced. The drive stations for all conveyors are
located either in fully enclosed transfer stations or at ground level, inside the main embankment at the
stockpile area.

2.9

Coal Preparation Plant and Transfer Station Cladding

It has been standard practice to enclose coal preparation plants in the region down to first floor level, leaving
the ground floor level open for maintenance access. In this case, the plant has been fully enclosed to ground
level on the sensitive eastern and southern sides, and partially on the western and northern sides. This has
been achieved without compromising maintenance access. In addition, noise modelling had shown that the
translucent sheeting often provided to improve the lighting inside plants was a source of increased noise
transmission to the exterior, so the plant is entirely clad in steel sheeting. No natural ventilation could be
permitted, as the vents would have allowed noise emission, so ventilation fans are included in the upper
level of the preparation plant. Transfer stations have been similarly treated, with minimal openings for
access and maintenance. Inside the preparation plant, the floors are constructed of concrete wherever
possible, with minimal penetrations, to prevent noise transmission between floors and to the ground floor
openings. The centrifuges, expected to be a noise generator, have been placed between two concrete floors.

Page 14 of 89

2.10 Crushing and Screening Station


At the raw coal sizing and crushing station, it would have been normal practice to use an inclined vibrating
screen to size the coal before crushing. As these are known to be very noisy, a screen type not previously
used in Australia was adopted instead. This is the roller screen, using rotating rolls to separate the oversize
from the undersize. Adoption of this type of screen has actually allowed a reduction in height of this
building, in addition to the expected benefits from reduced noise and vibration.

2.11 Bins
Other than the truck dump hopper, which has already been discussed, the bins designed for the site included
Plant feed surge bin
Plant rejects bin
Train loadout bin
Of these, the train loadout bin is located outside the main embankment, to the south-east of the industrial
area, while the others are inside the main embankment. The train loadout conveyor head end is not fully
enclosed, however, the drive station is located back inside the embankment in the industrial area, reducing
noise emissions and also reducing the size of the bin support structure. The train loading system, which is
hydraulically controlled, includes a 700t capacity bin above a 100t capacity weigh flask to accurately load
each wagon. There is the potential for noise generation from two sources, coal filling the weigh flask, and
coal from the weigh flask loading the wagon. The hydraulic pump which powers the system is fully enclosed
below the bin. The bin level control system operates such that the bin itself is never empty, so coal entering
the bin falls on coal, which minimises noise generation. The wagon loading takes place in an acoustically
lined tunnel, which constrains noise emissions to the north-east and south-west. The ventilation provided
to this tunnel was carefully designed to permit noise emissions only to the north-west, the direction of the
mine industrial area. (Colin, 2000)
The plant feed surge bin and the plant rejects bin both have fully enclosed feed conveyors, as mentioned
earlier. In both cases, the conveyor drives are located at ground level, within the embankment. The bins are
not acoustically lined, and the operating philosophy has been to endeavour to maintain a bed of material in
these bins to minimise noise generation.

2.12 Stockpile Equipment


Stockpile machines, i.e. stackers and reclaimers, were identified as potential noise sources. The
manufacturer was required to take particular steps to minimise noise generation from the machines,
including:
(i) Stackers
Controlled trajectory chute at the tripper discharge
Fully enclosed tripper discharge chute
Low height tripper transfer discharge
Fully enclosed boom conveyor load skirts
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Low noise electric motor on the boom conveyor drive.


(ii) Reclaimers
Ball bearing type chain guide rollers
Vibration absorbing rubber plates attached to chain guide liners
Large diameter chain sprockets and guide rollers and tumblers
Low noise motors on harrow sled drive
Fully enclosed impact loading table at discharge to yard conveyor.

2.13 Construction Activities


The noise generated during construction was to be limited to the same constraints as the development
consent. With activities including heavy earth moving machines, cranes, and other typically noisy
equipment, and the fact that initially the embankments themselves had to be constructed, this period was
seen to be potentially more difficult than for the actual operations. Construction of the embankments was
anticipated to be a significant noise generating activity, with construction contracts placing the
responsibility for noise management and control onto the contractor. The contracts specified daily noise
monitoring in the closest occupied rural areas, with noise control options available to the contractor
including relocation of noisy plant, replacement of noisy plant with quieter machines, or simply stopping
work at the contractors expense until weather conditions can be more favourable.

2.14 Operational Results


2.14.1 Mobile Equipment
2.14.1.1 Dragline
Prior to placing into service, the dragline was found to exceed its required static sound power of 107 dB(A),
due to relatively minor defects around the ventilation fans on the roof of the machine. With these defects
rectified, the machine has continued to meet the required static sound power level and fan noise is rarely
heard in nearby residential areas. The draglines bucket and rigging components were recognised early in
the mines design phase as a potential source of intermittent noise, particularly while the machine is
dumping as the bucket is high above the spoil piles. A detailed investigation was conducted into methods
of reducing impact noise as the bucket works, including design modifications to prevent or minimise
impacts and coating materials which reduced noise from remaining unavoidable impacts.
Recommendations arising from the investigation were to coat some components with a resilient material,
particularly the spreader bar and lift chains as these are not subject to regular contact with spoil. An archless
bucket was chosen to minimise the chances of the spreader bar and drag chains coming into contact with
the bucket. Resilient pads were mounted around the rim of the bucket and on the sides near the lifting
points, preventing direct metal contact with the lift chains. These modifications resulted in impact noise
associated with the spreader bar and lift chains being reduced from a typical sound power of 132 dB(A) to
around 116 dB(A), while impacts on the bucket arch were totally eliminated. Remaining metal impacts with
a sound power over 130 dB(A) are still possible, mainly associated with the drag chains and rope sockets
which cannot be coated due to their service conditions. Minimising remaining impact noise has been left to
the machines operator, with ongoing training sessions being conducted to ensure each operator has the
skills to operate the machine in the quietest possible manner yet still keep productivity to required levels.

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2.14.1.2 Hydraulic Excavator, Loader


These 2 loading units were supplied with significant noise control modifications, including radiator louvres
or plenum chambers, engine enclosures, acoustically treated cooling air inlet chambers and more effective
exhaust silencers. Both machines have been operating satisfactorily with these modifications, with regular
cleaning required to the acoustic material to prevent dust buildup and maintain its performance. These units
produce a sound power typically around 111 dB(A) and no greater than 113 dB(A) while working,
compared to over 120 dB(A) for a standard dual-engine excavator and 117 dB(A) for a standard loader of
the same model. With their working location usually in a pit, noise from these machines is rarely audible at
any property.
2.14.1.3 Drills
Diesel powered drill rigs, with the engine exposed on standard machines, were supplied with enclosed
engines, louvred radiators, acoustically treated cooling air outlets and more effective exhaust silencers.
Minor treatment was also required to the dust extractor, and rubber skirts around the drill head minimised
compressed air noise as the bit contacted the ground. Some initial cooling problems were experienced with
these machines, with airflow restricted to the radiator. After relatively minor modifications to the fans and
louvres, these machines have been working satisfactorily with regular cleaning of the acoustic material.
Modifications to the machines have reduced their sound power from 117 dB(A) to below 112 dB(A) while
working.
2.14.1.4 Track Dozers
Standard track dozers typically produce a sound power around 116 dB(A) from the engine, exhaust and
radiator, with track noise in reverse producing up to 128 dB(A). Machines supplied to this mine produced
a sound power below 112 dB(A) due to engine enclosures, radiator louvres and better exhaust silencers,
with track noise slightly reduced to 126 dB(A) due to third gear not being available in reverse. Subsequent
modifications to the tracks, involving a block of resilient material being imbedded in each plate to reduce
vibration, resulted in a 2 to 3 decibel reduction in track noise. A further investigation aimed at achieving a
maximum sound power of 113 dB(A) from track noise is being conducted jointly by the mine and the
machines manufacturer, with no clear results to date.
2.14.1.5 Wheel Dozer
A significant noise control initiative adopted by the mine was to use a wheel dozer wherever possible on
exposed dump areas, particularly at night, to eliminate excessive track noise from a track dozer. A wheel
dozer was therefore supplied with a maximum sound power of 111 dB(A), with modifications similar to
the loader described above. Due to a wheel dozers limited traction, a track dozer is still regularly required
on dump areas. This work is carried out during the day wherever possible, with remaining work at night
carried out at low speed in first gear to eliminate track noise.
2.14.1.6 Dump Trucks
Trucks are used on the mine to haul prestrip overburden to dump areas, to haul reject material from the
processing plant to dump areas, and to haul coal from pits to the truck dump station. The first two of these
tasks requires the trucks to travel to exposed elevated dumps, making these machines among the most
critical for site noise control. Standard trucks typically produced a sound power over 120 dB(A), although
early noise controlled machines were specified in 1996 by another coal mine in the Hunter Valley which
resulted in their sound power being reduced to 116 dB(A). Machines at Bengalla typically produce a sound
power of 110 dB(A) while operating, with up to 113 dB(A) with the retard (braking) system engaged. This
represents a reduction of over 10 decibels in four years, a significant achievement for the manufacturers.

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This low sound power was achieved generally in the same way as the other machines described above, with
engine enclosures, radiator louvres and treated cooling air outlets under the trucks chassis.
Some ongoing problems have been experienced with the machines, mainly with the unit regularly used to
haul reject material. This material has a high water content and occasionally spills a small amount onto the
radiator louvre, covering the sound absorbent material and encouraging dust to settle on the louvres. Regular
cleaning has proved to be the most practical solution, however careful cleaning is required in a number of
barely accessible areas and results in unwanted downtime and a slight loss of production.
2.14.1.7 Water Carts
Water carts of 90 tonne capacity are used to minimise dust from haul roads in the mine while producing a
sound power no greater than 112 dB(A). Engine, exhaust and radiator noise has been treated in these
machines in a similar manner to the dump trucks, but with a hydraulically cooled braking system water
carts produce less noise than dump trucks while travelling downhill. As for the other machines, regular
cleaning of all noise control components is required to maintain satisfactory performance.

2.14.2 Fixed Plant


2.14.2.1 Processing Area Conveyors
It became apparent at an early stage that the noise generated by several of the conveyors was significantly
greater than expected. In particular the stockyard conveyors, not being enclosed to allow access for the
stackers and reclaimers, were perceived as very noisy. Measurements conducted at representative locations
near a number of these noisy conveyors showed up to 17 decibels over the guaranteed noise levels for many
affected conveyors. Earlier tests on a nearby mine site had indicated that careful machining of idlers
contributed to a significant reduction in noise from conveyors, so these conveyors were inspected to find
the cause of excessive noise. It was discovered that the idlers had an uneven surface, which was found to
be the rust preventative coating which had been applied by the manufacturer after machining. The idlers
had been stacked for shipment before this coating had properly dried and consequently their surface was
uneven. An intensive programme of scraping, grit-blasting and polishing was undertaken, and noise levels
were significantly reduced. It was further found that many idlers were out of balance and did not conform
to the specification. This caused noise generation to an unacceptable level. A program of idler replacement
was begun, and noise reductions of up to 14dB(A) have been realized through the installation of conforming
idlers. Some conveyors were found to have ripples in the belt covers. These caused severe difficulties with
belt scraping, and also created a drumming noise as the ripples passed over the idlers. Following
negotiations with the belting vendor, affected belts were replaced. Examples showing the results of the
various improvements discussed above are given below in Table 3. The overland conveyor did not have the
same problems as the other site conveyors. The idlers were larger diameter, they were balanced as well as
machined, the rust inhibiting coating was very thin and even and did not affect the idlers mass or balance,
and the belt did not contain significant defects. This conveyor met the guaranteed noise levels from the
outset, and continues to meet these levels.
2.14.2.2 Bins
Noise from the raw coal dump hopper has been found to be somewhat higher than expected, and this appears
to be related to the proportion of harder waste material present in the coal seam being mined. Noise from
the station is occasionally audible at the closest properties, although it is rarely the subject of noise
complaints. The main noise reduction strategy adopted for this and other bins was to ensure some material
always remains in the bin to dampen noise from falling material. Noise from the plant feed surge bin
increases significantly when the bin is empty, which occasionally occurs when a different seam is selected

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for processing. At other times, noise from this bin is insignificant. Similarly, noise levels generated at the
train loadout bin have been acceptable, although it is audible at times at a few close properties. The train
loading process has also been demonstrated to produce acceptable environmental noise levels, and the
acoustic tunnel shielding noise from the filling of the rail wagons is effective in reducing noise levels,
especially to the south-east and east where the town and several properties are located. The plant rejects bin
itself is satisfactory from a noise perspective, but the process of placing rejects in the trucks for disposal
has proved to be noisy. Remedies for this are still under investigation at the time of writing this paper, and
may include additional shrouding at the bin/truck interface, or modifications to the truck body.
2.14.2.3 Stockpile Machines
The stackers produce an average of 2 decibels over the expected levels, although stacker noise is strongly
dependent on the condition of idlers which therefore must be carefully maintained. The reclaimers have
also produced 2 to 3 decibels more than expected, with dominant sources of noise including the main bucket
chains and sprockets and the interface chute between the reclaimer and the conveyor. Of these sources, only
the chains and sprockets have the potential to be audible at a residential property due to their intermittent
noise character. These machines have been the subject of a few noise complaints, however, these have
occurred during strongly noise-enhancing atmospheric conditions. The machines are currently being
reviewed by the mine.

2.15 Evaluating Noise Controls for Haul Trucks (Case Study)


Haul truck noise is a good example of the challenging problem of reducing noise in both reverberant and
non-reverberant environments.

Figure 1: Haul Truck

2.15.1 Absorptive Material


Several of the tested haul trucks had 0.75-inch-thick, vinyl-covered material installed in the area in front of
the operator. It is not known if this material was a sound absorbing material or if it was only padding The
material was attached with Velcro for easy removal. NIOSH researchers measured sound levels at the
operator position above ground at low and high idle, with and without the vinyl-covered material in place.
The vinyl-covered material had little effect on sound levels at the operators position. The results for haul
truck 2 show that the sound level at low idle was higher with the vinyl-covered material than without it,
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possibly due to fluctuations in engine output between the tests. At high idle, the vinyl-covered material had
no measurable effect on the sound level.

Figure 2: Haul truck with vinyl-covered material installed in the area in front of the operator.

Table 1: Sound level at the haul truck operators position, surface measurement

The third haul truck had the same 0.75-inch-thick, vinyl-covered material in the area in front of the operator
as the previous two haul trucks. However, haul truck 3 also had vinyl-covered material attached to the
underside of the canopy (see Figures 3 and 4). NIOSH researchers compared sound levels measured at the
surface with those measured underground under the same conditions: at the operator position at low and
high idle, with and without the vinyl-covered material in place.

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Figure 3: Haul truck with vinyl-covered material installed in canopy above the operator.
Table 2: Sound level at the haul truck operators position, underground measurement

Table 3: Sound level for haul truck at the operators position, surface measurement

2.15.2 Partial Engine Enclosures


Engine enclosures are used to contain engine noise. Sound-absorbing material can be used to line engine
enclosures to absorb noise within the enclosure. This can reduce the sound level emitted from the enclosure.
The actual amount of noise reduction achieved depends on many factors. To contain engine noise, the
enclosure must be made from a material with a high TL. Adequate space is needed between the engine and
its enclosure to allow proper flow of cooling air. If the space between the engine and enclosure is
insufficient, the cooling fan will not be able to efficiently move air and the noise due to the fan may increase
substantially. Gaps in an enclosure greatly reduce its ability to contain noise. To test how effective partial
engine enclosures are at reducing sound levels on haul trucks, sound levels were measured underground at
the haul truck operators position. Data were collected on eight different haul trucks at high idle. Each haul
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truck had a partial engine enclosure similar to the one shown in Figure 5, fashioned from a piece of 0.5inch-thick rubber that NIOSH researchers believed to be used conveyer belt material. Measurements were
made with and without the barrier in place. The results showed that the barrier reduced the sound level
reaching the operator by about 1 dB(A).

Figure 4: Partial engine enclosure.

Figure 5: Haul truck with sound-absorbing material installed in canopy and depiction of how sound may enter the operator area,
reaching operator before padding.

The test results showed that the underground environment increased sound levels at both low and high idle.
NIOSH researchers attribute this increase to the reverberation of sound that occurs in enclosed spaces. The
amount of increase also depended on whether the machine was running at low idle or high idle. This is due
to the different frequency content associated with the noise emitted at high and low idle and how each of
these is affected by the mine environment. Since the environment and operating conditions can have a
significant impact on equipment noise, controls should be assessed in the environment where they are used
under all operating conditions.

Page 22 of 89

2.15.3 Sealing Gaps


An often overlooked noise control measure is sealing gaps. A hole or gap in an enclosure, even if small,
can greatly compromise noise reduction. Gaps provide a direct path for sound to travel from the engine to
the haul truck operator. Sealing gaps reduces the noise exposure of the operator. Figure 8 shows a large gap
around the perimeter of the instrument panel, which is part of the engine enclosure. Sealing the gaps around
the instrument panel, as shown in Figure 9, can significantly reduce the operators noise exposure. Soundabsorbing foam should not be used to seal gaps. Due to its open cell nature, sound-absorbing foam is not
very good at blocking noise. When sealing gaps, closed cell foam should be used instead.

2.15.4 Evaluating Noise Controls for Jumbo Drills and Bolters


2.15.4.1 Covers for Electric-Motor-Powered Hydraulic Pumps
Ten machines were tested: five roof bolters and five jumbo face drills. All of the tested face drills and
bolters were equipped with at least one electric motor used to drive hydraulic pumps. The dual-boom face
drills were equipped with two electric motors used to drive hydraulic pumps. The motors were directly
behind the operator area as shown in Figure 22. Five of the tested machinestwo roof bolters and three
jumbo drillshad noise controls installed around the electric motor and hydraulic pumps. All of the
reported measurements were made underground at the operators ear position with only the electric motors
operating.
Several of the tested controls are shown in Figures 2325. It should be noted that the sound levels generated
with only the electric motors on were less than 85 dB(A). Sound levels during drilling and bolting can
exceed 100 dB(A). Therefore, the noise due to the electric-motor-powered hydraulic pumps is insignificant
in terms of the operators dose. The data show the motor enclosures built from barrier-type materials
reduced the sound level by about 2 dB(A). However, the enclosures built from absorptive material reduced
the sound level less than one-half dB(A). Sound-absorbing materials do not usually provide much TL.
Table 4: Sound level for jumbo drills and bolters at the operators position, underground

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Figure 6: Heavy conveyor belt barrier.

Figure 7: Fiberglass blanket barrier.

Figure 8: Plexiglas motor cover.

2.15.5 Absorptive Material in Canopy


Most of the tested machines had sound-absorbing material under the canopy. However, only three of the
machines had the material installed in such a way that it could be easily removed and replaced so that

Page 24 of 89

NIOSH researchers could directly measure its effectiveness at reducing noise. In all of the cases, the
absorptive material was a 1-inch-thick quilted fiberglass blanket.
The face drill measurements were taken underground during the drilling cycle, and the bolter results were
measured above ground with the percussive hammer operating. Face drill 2 had a removable windshield,
so the effect of the absorptive material in the canopy was measured with and without the windshield. The
data show the sound-absorbing material did not significantly change the sound levels at the operators
position in this case.

Figure 9: One-inch-thick quilted fiberglass blanket being removed for testing.


Table 5: Sound level of jumbo drills and bolters at the operators position

2.15.6 Absorptive Material on Sides of the Cab Around Operator Area


One bolter and one face drill had a removable 1-inch-thick quilted fiberglass blanket around the operators
area. For bolter 1, measurements were performed underground with the windshield in place while drilling
and bolting.

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Figure 10: Quilted fiberglass material in the operators area.

The data indicate that the absorption around the operator has essentially no effect on the sound level during
the drilling process. During the bolting process, the measured sound level at the operators ear was 0.3
dB(A) higher with the material in place. However, this difference is most likely due to changes in the noise
produced at the drill steel, not due to the installation of the sound-absorbing material.
Sound level of jumbo drills and bolters at the operators position, absorptive material around operator

2.15.7 Absorptive Material in Lower Front of Cab

Figure 11: Quilted fiberglass material in the lower front of the operators area of bolter 2.

The table shows the levels were virtually unchanged in each case. This is not surprising. Most of the drilling
and bolting noise probably reaches the operator by bending around the windshield or by first reflecting off
the rib. The noise reflected from the front lower area to the operator is most likely minimal.

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Sound level of bolter 2 at the operators position, absorptive material in lower front of cab

2.15.8 Windshields
The most common noise control installed on the tested face drills and bolters was a windshield. The amount
of noise reduction achieved varied greatly depending on how the windshield was designed.

Figure 12: Wind Shields for Protection

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Figure 13: Wind Shields for protection

Most of the windshields were designed to be flipped up into the canopy. This feature allowed the operator
an unobstructed view while operating and tramming the machine. The windshield on bolter 2 had gaps
between sections that were arranged vertically and did not wrap around the operator station (see Figure 29).
The windshield of bolter 3 had no gaps between sections of windshield, and the windshield wrapped around
the operator (see Figure 30). Bolter 5s windshield was continuous, but it did not wrap around the operator
station. Strips of belting material had been installed on the sides of the operator station on bolter 5 in an
effort to block noise. The greatest noise reductions were achieved for bolter 3, face drill 1, and face drill 4,
all having wrap-around windshields with no gaps. The only difference between the windshields of bolters
2 and 5, was that bolter 2s windshield had gaps between panes and bolter 5s windshield was continuous.
Bolter 5 experienced a 1-dB(A) greater noise reduction than bolter 2 when drilling.

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Table 6: Sound level of bolters 2, 3, 4, and 5 at the operators position

Covers for electric-motor-powered hydraulic pumps constructed of a heavy barrier material, such as
conveyor belting, as opposed to an absorptive material such as fiberglass, produced the most substantial
sound level reductions. However, on the tested machines the A-weighted sound levels created by the
untreated motors were below 85 dB(A). Having the environment analyzed for noise levels prior to incurring
the expense of noise treatments. If multiple noise sources generate sound levels of 85 dB(A) individually,
it may be necessary to treat each of these sources to reduce the operators noise exposure. For example,
four 85-dB(A) noise sources operating together would result in a sound level of 91 dB(A). However, on a
case-by-case basis, the contribution of each noise source to the operators noise exposure should be
determined before installing noise controls. With bolters and jumbo drills, the sound level due to drilling
and bolting often reaches 100 dB(A), whereas the pumps generate a sound level less than 85 dB(A).
Therefore, the noise exposure due to the electric-powered-hydraulic pumps is insignificant and, in this case,
noise controls should not be applied to the pumps. The application of fiberglass absorptive material to the
canopy, seat area, and lower portion of the open cab had little to no effect on the sound level at the operators
ear during drilling and bolting. To be effective at reducing the sound level reaching the operator, soundabsorbing materials must be placed on surfaces that reflect sound toward the operators hearing zone.
Furthermore, a significant portion of the noise at the operators ear must be due to noise reflected from
these surfaces. If the majority of the noise at the operators station arrives directly from the face or from
reflections from the rib, treating the surfaces around the operator will have virtually no effect on the sound
level at the operators ear. For machines with open cabs, such as those installed on the face drills and roof
bolters tested, absorptive materials will be of limited benefit. For face drill 2, a reduction of nearly 1 dB(A)
was achieved with absorptive material in the operator area with only the electric-motor-powered hydraulic
pumps in operation. This reduction probably occurred because the noise from the pumps must reach the
operator by an indirect path. Line of sight with the pumps is obscured by body of the machine. As this noise
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reflects off surfaces around the operator, the material around the operator reduces the noise. However, when
the operator began drilling, the primary noise source became drilling noise. Since drilling noise reaches the
operator mainly via a direct path, or by bending around the windshield, the absorbing material around the
operator would have no effect. In general, well-designed windshields were the most effective noise controls
implemented on the drills and bolters because they block drilling and bolting noise from reaching the
operator. Also, the noise generated by drilling and bolting is predominantly high frequency in nature. High
frequency sounds are easier to block and absorb because of their shorter wavelengths. The windshields that
had a gap between an upper and a lower pane of glass were the least effective at reducing sound levels
because the gaps allow drilling and bolting noise to pass through. The conveyor belt strips serving as a
makeshift enclosure on bolter 5 were installed in an attempt to supplement the noise reduction due to the
windshield. Because no sound level measurements were taken without the strips in place, the noise
reduction they offer is unknown. NIOSH researchers assume they have little, if any, effect on sound levels
reaching the operators ear because of gaps between the strips. The strips should be overlapped a few inches
to improve the noise reduction due to their use.

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3 Noise Control in Underground Mines


3.1

Hierarchy of Noise Control

Three methods to reduce worker noise exposure are:


1. Implementing engineering noise controls to reduce noise at the source or at the worker
2. Using administrative controls to limit the amount of time workers spend in noisy environments
3. Wearing personal protective equipment, such as hearing protectors, to reduce the sound level entering
the ears.
Using engineering noise controls is the most desirable option because they address noise sources directly.
Administrative controls and hearing protectors are indirect interventions and are less easily monitored and
therefore more readily circumvented.

3.2

Barriers and Sound-Absorbing Materials

A barrier is a solid obstacle that is at least somewhat impervious to sound and interrupts the direct path
from the sound source to the receiver. The sound transmission loss (TL) of a material is a measure of its
ability to block sound. To block sound most effectively, the barrier should be
placed as close as possible to either the source or receiver;
assembled to be as tall and wide as practical so it extends well beyond the direct source-receiver path;
and
constructed of a material that is solid and airtight. Low frequency sounds are difficult to block with
barriers because low frequency sounds pass directly through and bend around obstacles relatively easily.
This is why the bass tones from a passing car stereo are audible even inside buildings. Mid to high frequency
sounds, which often dominate a workers noise exposure, cannot pass through or bend around barriers as
easily as low frequency sounds. In general, adding mass to a barrier improves its ability to block noise.
Another way to improve the TL of a barrier is to use multiple layers of material with each layer separated
from the others using a compliant material such as foam. This method decouples the vibration of each layer
from the other layers and, therefore, increases the TL.
Sound-absorbing treatments are usually made of porous materials that absorb incident sound energy and
reduce the reverberation due to sound reflected from surfaces. Fiberglass and open-cell foam are often used
for sound absorbers. A materials degree of sound absorption depends on its flow resistance and thickness,
the way it is mounted, and the frequency of the incident sound. Thicker sound absorbing materials are
needed to absorb low frequency sounds. For frequencies above about 1 kHz, 1-inch-thick sound absorbing
material has sufficient sound absorption. Two-inch-thick sound-absorbing material has good absorption for
frequencies above about 500 Hz. Protective facings on sound absorbing foam tend to improve the sound
absorbing capabilities of the material at lower frequencies. To improve the sound absorption of an installed
material, the material can be mounted with an air space between it and the surface behind it. To achieve the
best results, the material should be spaced one-quarter wavelength from the surface behind it. In this case,
the wavelength is based on the lowest frequency of interest. In addition, the optimal absorption of a material
occurs when the thickness is equal to one-quarter wavelength for the frequency of interest.

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Or,

It in some instances it can be impractical to install material with the optimal thickness or spacing to absorb
low frequency sounds. For example, the optimal material thickness for noise at 1 kHz is roughly 3.5 inches
and the optimal material thickness for noise at 500 Hz is about 7 inches. Knowing the frequency content of
a noise problem enables one to select a sound-absorbing material that has sufficient absorption at the
frequencies where the noise energy is greatest.

3.3

Noise Control Resource Guide MSHA

The Mine Safety and Health Administrations (MSHA) Noise Control Resource Guide series is a
compendium of resource information and guidance for reducing miners noise exposures at coal and metal
and nonmetal surface mines, underground mines, and mills and preparation plants. The Noise Control
Resource Guides represent the Agencys continuing efforts to assist mine operators in lowering noise
exposure, preventing miner hearing loss, and achieving compliance with the Occupational Noise Exposure
Standard.
The guide helps to:

(OEMs) for new equipment.


-market suppliers of noise controls;
and in some cases, provide information on engineering controls that can be designed, fabricated, and
installed at the mine site.
for machinery suppliers and suppliers of sound and vibration controls and materials.
Technical experts and practitioners in the field of noise in the mining industry, as well as manufacturers of
noise control equipment, provided information contained in this noise control resource guide. The material
found in this guide should be considered a resource and not be construed to be a mandatory requirement.
This guide should be used in conjunction with MSHA Program Information Bulletin (PIB) P11-45
Technologically Achievable, Administratively Achievable and Promising Noise Controls.
Due to the variability of the mining environment, it would be difficult to compile a document that would
present controls that are feasible in each and every situation. The individual noise controls or series of
controls found herein can reduce the exposure of most miners; however, they must be designed, tailored,
and implemented according to the specific situation. Questions regarding technical applicability and
feasibility of the controls to a specific mining situation should be referred to the local MSHA office.
MSHA promulgated Health Standards for Occupational Noise Exposure for the metal, nonmetal, and coal
mining industry (30 CFR Part 62) in an effort to reduce the number of miners who will experience a material
impairment of hearing. Part 62 establishes the full shift Permissible Exposure Level (PEL) at a Time
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Weighted Average over eight hours (TWA8) of 90 dBA (100% Dose) and establishes an Action Level (AL)
at a TWA8 of 85 dBA (50% Dose). The operator is required to enroll affected miners in a Hearing
Conservation Program if the AL is met or exceeded. If the PEL is exceeded, the mine operator is required
to use all feasible engineering and/or administrative controls to reduce miners exposure to the PEL. The
Noise Control Resource Guides deal with noise controls that are available on types of mining equipment
typically used in different mining environments. The first guide covers surface mining; the second,
underground mining; and the third, mills and preparation plants. These guides will reference the type of
mining equipment and noise controls that are available from the manufacturer of the equipment or as a
retrofit for the equipment. The guides do not address generic administrative controls that are universally
accepted as being effective, i.e. rotation of workers, time limitations, distance, etc. However, if specific
administrative controls have been shown to provide significant noise reduction, these administrative
controls will be discussed with the equipment or the process. The guides also contain appendices that list
equipment manufacturers, noise control products, aftermarket manufacturers, reference sources, and
contact information; however, these lists are not all inclusive

3.3.1 Noise Exposure Reduction


In general, the amount of noise reduction achievable by, and the technologically achievability of a given
noise control or a group of noise controls is widely variable and must be considered on a case-by-case
basis. The amount of noise reduction that can be obtained from an individual noise control or suite of
controls is dependent on a large number of factors:

For these reasons, each of the machine and noise controls shown in this guide do not have specified noise
reductions. Such figures are only obtainable after a complete acoustical investigation is conducted on each
individual machine. Each noise control case study has a set of conditions that are unique to it. Since the
noise standards treat engineering controls equally with administrative controls, one may use either
engineering or administrative controls or a combination of both to reduce miners exposures. Each noise
control guide is a valuable source of information for mine operators to use when deciding what type of
mitigative action is best suited for the conditions encountered at their operation. In addition to the
applicability of the control, the operator will need to consider the specific materials used when installing an
engineering control. It is important to remember that the effectiveness of any engineering control used to
reduce noise exposures is dependent on the appropriately selected, correctly installed, and properly
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maintained acoustical material. As with most everything used in the mining industry, if an effective
maintenance program is not put in place, the noise control will not last. Sometimes noise controls are
expensive. It is in the operators best interest to maintain the controls so as to reap the benefits of their
investment.

3.3.2 Dose from Multiple Noise Sources


Special considerations should be afforded to multiple noise sources, a situation common in the mining
industry. Multiple noise sources present unique challenges in their measurement and control. The
effectiveness of noise controls on multiple noise sources needs to be systematically evaluated in light of
their contribution to a miners exposure. To further illustrate this, consider the following: When it is
determined that there are multiple noise sources that contribute to a miners noise exposure, and that these
sources expose the miner to high levels of noise in a serial fashion, general noise control practices would
direct you to lower the sound level of the highest noise source. However, noise exposure (dose) is a function
of the sound level AND the amount of time the miner is exposed to the noise. Therefore, in planning which
noise source(s) to treat, it is important to look at the sound level and the exposure time. Table 1 illustrates
the roles of sound level and exposure time. A particular miners exposure is comprised of four levels and
intervals: S1, a source of 90 dBA for 4 hours; S2, a source of 95 dBA for 2 hours; S3, a source of 100 dBA
for 1 hour; and S4, a source of 88 dBA for 1 hour.
Table 7: Data for Example Calculations Involving Multiple Sound Sources

The miners exposure [S1 + S2 + S3 + S4], computed in terms of percent dose compared to the permissible
exposure level (PEL), with a 90 dBA threshold for 8 hours, is 150% [50 + 50 + 50 +0]. By treating only the
highest sound level source (S3) by application of an engineering noise control and reducing it from 100
dBA to 97 dBA (S3 mod), the miners exposure [S1 + S2 + S3 mod + S4] would be 133% [50 + 50 + 33 +
0]. However, if the source to which the miner is exposed for most of the time (S1) is modified to obtain a
3 dBA reduction from 90 to 87 dBA [S1 mod], the impact is to reduce the miners exposure [S1 mod +S2
+ S3 + S4] to 100% [0 + 50 + 50 + 0]. Actually, a noise control yielding only a 1 dBA reduction applied to
(S1) would achieve the same result. If sources (S1) and (S2) are treated by 3 dBA each and reductions from
90 dBA to 87 dBA and from 95 dBA to 92 dBA obtained, the miners resultant exposure [S1 mod + S2
mod + S3 + S4] would be 83% [0 + 33 + 50 + 0]. It is very important when conducting noise control work
to examine the makeup of the miners full shift noise exposure. The exposure may not be based solely on
the highest sound level or the longest exposure time. It is the total noise dose, not just the individual sound
levels or exposure times.

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3.3.3 Acoustical Materials


Acoustical materials can reduce noise either by absorbing or blocking sound waves, or damping
vibrations. These materials are generally referred to as absorption, barrier, composite, and damping
materials, and they can substantially increase the effectiveness of other acoustical devices. Selection of
appropriate acoustical materials must be made based on a firm noise control engineering basis and
commensurate to the task, properly installed, used, and maintained. Acoustical devices include, but are
not limited to, mufflers, silencers and enclosures. Absorption, barrier, composite, and damping/isolation
materials are defined as follows:

A material designed to absorb sound waves. It is not intended to be used for blocking sound waves. Some
examples of absorption materials are foam and fiberglass. It may be used inside a cab or enclosure to
prevent the reverberation of sound waves.

A material designed to block sound waves. It does not absorb sound waves. A typical use of barrier
materials would be on the firewall of a bulldozer to block low frequency engine noise. Some examples of
sound barriers are massloaded vinyl curtains, lead, plywood, glass, steel, and concrete.

A material designed to both absorb and block sound. It may be used to provide additional barrier qualities
to an enclosure or operator cab as well as absorption of radiating sound waves. Some examples are
combinations of foam, vinyl, fiberglass, and lead.

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Materials designed to damp, remove the ring from vibrating surfaces, and decouple source from structure.

3.3.4 Installation Methods


Acoustical materials may be installed in the following ways:
1. Adhesives The use of an industrial adhesive requires a thorough cleaning of the surface area. The
adhesive should then be applied according to the manufacturers specifications. While the use of
adhesives is economical and effective for installing the materials, the material cannot be removed intact
and a potential hazard may exist from toxic fumes if subjected to intense heat. Also special solvents, that
may have special conditions for use to avoid potential toxicity problems, may be needed to remove the
adhesives.
2. Stud Welding This method involves the use of a stud welder to attach a threaded, copper-coated stud
to a metal surface such as a cab wall. The stud welder consists of a capacitance discharge unit and a handheld triggering device, which holds the stud in place for welding. Upon release of the charge, an arc is
struck between the tip of the stud and the metal surface, heating a small area. Simultaneously, the stud is
plunged into the molten metal and the weld is completed. For a good quality weld, the metal paint must
be removed from the metal. The acoustical material is placed over the stud and secured with a rubbercover button. This cover button not only holds the material in place, but offers a physical protection from
the metal stud. The stud-welding method requires little surface preparation and allows for the removal and
reinstallation of the materials for maintenance or repairs.
3. Bolts and Straps Material may be held in place utilizing metal straps, which are secured by bolts and
nuts at each end. This type of installation allows for easy removal and replacement of the acoustical
material without damage.
4. Stick-on Studs This method involves the use of threaded studs pre-welded to a metal disc having a
self-adhesive backing. Surface preparation involves a thorough cleaning to remove oil, grease, or other
contaminants. These studs may be attached to all types of surfaces. The materials are then pushed over the
studs and held in place with a rubbercover button. In some situations, the weight of the acoustical
materials may have an effect on the load bearing characteristics of the stick-on studs. Care should be
taken.

3.3.5 Compliance Assistance


MSHA has produced several documents to aid the mining industry in complying with Part 62. These
include:

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MSHA will work with mine operators, miners, labor unions, industry associations, noise partnerships,
mining equipment and noise control manufacturers, noise engineering professionals, and the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in updating this document to reflect new solutions
and experiences in controlling occupational noise exposures in the mining industry.
In underground mining, there is a wide variety of equipment used as well as site-specific mining
practices, etc. The first recommendation in controlling noise is to identify the highest noise exposure tasks
and the sources that contribute to the miners noise exposure. Thus, it may be necessary to examine all
aspects of the work shift (portal to portal) including transportation into and out of the mine, and the
equipment operated by the specific miner, as well as the equipment which may be positioned in close
proximity to the miner.
1. Engineering Controls The application of engineering noise controls to underground mining
equipment may, in general terms, be a more complicated task compared to that involving surface or
processing facilities. In the case of new equipment, it is most advantageous to purchase the equipment
from the manufacturer with the noise controls already engineered into the unit. If there is the availability
of a fully-treated operator cab and ceiling height clearances permit, then in many cases the fully-treated
operator cab would be the most effective means of protecting the miner from overexposure. In the holistic
approach, the treated cab would protect the miner from dust, temperature extremes, as well as
overexposure to high sound levels. In the case of retrofit engineering controls on existing equipment, this
may necessitate the removal of the equipment from the mine. In many instances, the noise controls can be
applied during a scheduled rebuild. In some situations, the utilization of radio remote controls to remove
the miner from the close proximity of the equipment may be considered.
2. Administrative Controls There are many possible combinations of administrative controls that may be
used to reduce a miners noise exposure. A few general techniques to consider are time management
including maintenance during idle time and work rotation. Also, dividing routine work between different
work shifts and changing actual shift lengths are other examples of administrative controls that may be
utilized. However, because of the site-specific work practices, administrative controls need to be
considered on a case-by-case basis.
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3.4

Continuous Miners - Auger Type

Auger-type Continuous Miners are found only in low seam, underground coal mines. Twin auger heads
with cutting bits mine and transport the coal to the gathering arms. The machine discharges the coal onto
a series of bridges for transport out of the mine.

Figure 14: Continuous Miners - Auger Type

3.4.1
3.4.2

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


Retrofit Noise Controls

Figure 15: Areas Where Retrofit Noise Controls can be Applied to an Auger-Type Continuous Miner

3.4.2.1 Conveyor Pan Lines


The conveyor pan lines should be treated to dampen vibration and also to isolate the chain conveyor
flights from the pan. This can be accomplished with individual wear strips shown in the following
illustration, or full coverage of the pan line as also illustrated. The chain turn-around should provide
smooth transition for the chain and flights.

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Figure 16: Installation of Wear Strips on Pan Line

Note: Installation of the individual strips can be done by either welding or fastening with machine screws
to the deck. If wear strips are welded in place the width and length of the damping material should be
reduced so as to prevent damage to the material and the possible emission of toxic vapors.

Figure 17: Full Coverage Treatment to Both Upper and Lower Pan Lines

3.4.2.2 Auger Cutting Heads.


The auger cutting heads are one of the major noise sources. A retrofit noise control application was
developed by the U. S. Bureau of Mines (USBM). Originally, it was called the sand-filled cutting head
because of the materials used. Explicit details for the construction of these cutting heads can be found in
the USBM Informational Circular (IC) 8971. This method utilizes a steel stiffener welded to one side of
the cutting head helix. The hollow space formed between the stiffener and the helix is then filled with
sand. This is shown in the following illustration. It should be emphasized that the construction of the
sand-filled auger cutting head should only be done in a shop or rebuild facility.

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Figure 18: Sand-Filled Auger Cutting Head

3.4.2.3 Barriers
When a continuous-mining machine is operated from an operators compartment, a barrier can be used to
block and redirect sound away from the machine operator. A clear barrier such as plexiglass can be installed
between the operator and the chain conveyor to reduce the operators exposure. If the seam height varies,
the barrier can be hinged so it can be easily lowered.
3.4.2.4 Transfer points
When a bridge haulage system is being used, proper alignment of the bridge sections will reduce the impact
noise generated as the material drops at the transfer points.
3.4.2.5 Maintenance
Good maintenance of the continuous-mining machine can help eliminate noise sources such as loose covers
causing metal-on-metal impacts. Maintaining proper tension of the conveyor chain will also reduce the
noise generated by the flights impacting the side of the pan. This will provide for a smoother transition of
the chain and flights around the tail piece.

3.4.3 Alternative Technology


Under certain situations, remote controls may be used as a noise control by increasing the distance between
the operator and the machine. The use of remote controls is dependent upon mining methodology and is
very site-specific. 4. Administrative Controls The sound levels created by the chain conveyor on
continuous-mining machines and bridges are considerably higher when they are running with no material
on them. Therefore, limiting the amount of time a chain conveyor is run without conveying material can
reduce the overall exposure.

3.5

Continuous Miners - Drum Type

Drum-type Continuous Miners are found in both coal and metal/non-metal mines (salt, potash, nickel).
They come in various configurations; some are operated by remote control and others operated from the
machine. Some new machines have roof bolters mounted on either side. A large spinning drum with cutting
bits cuts the material. The material falls on the floor and is picked up by the gathering arms. The machine
discharges the material either on the floor behind it or directly into shuttle cars for transport. If the material
is deposited back on the floor, a loader machine gathers it and loads it into a shuttle car.

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3.5.1 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)


3.5.2 Retrofit Noise Controls

Figure 19: Areas Where Retrofit Noise Controls May be Applied on a Continuous Miner Drum Type

3.5.2.1 Conveyor Pan Line and Chain Turn-Around


The conveyor pan line should be treated to dampen vibration and to isolate the chain and flights from the
pan. This can be accomplished with individual strips or full coverage. The chain turn-around should
provide smooth transition for the chain and flights.

Figure 20: Constrained-Layer Damping of Conveyor Pan Using Individual Strip

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3.5.2.2 Dust Scrubber


An acoustical silencer should be installed on the scrubber exhaust. The silencer is made from acoustical
foam with a porous cover to protect against dust, water, and grease. This item must be properly and
frequently maintained to assure its effectiveness. There are several types of silencers available. Selection
is dependent upon the type of continuous-mining machine and scrubber being used. There is an
acousticalfoam wrap available which can be wrapped around the scrubber housing to reduce the noise.
There is also a sleeve-style attenuator, which slides inside the housing to absorb scrubber exhaust noise,
an attenuator which is bolted onto the scrubber exhaust to help reduce the noise is also available. Space
limitation must be considered when choosing these items. For scrubbers with dual exhausts and crossover
duct-work, a kit is available for applying sound-absorbing material to the crossover duct-work.
3.5.2.3 Motor Covers
The motor cover panels can be treated to reduce motor noise reaching the operator. The acoustical
materials needed for this treatment include an absorptive layer and a vibration damping layer.

Figure 21: Example of Layering Applied to Motor Covers

3.5.2.4 Coated Conveyor Chains


The flight bars of the continuous miners conveyor chain can be treated with a highly durable
polyurethane coating to reduce impact noise between the conveyor chain and the conveyor pan and tail
roller. Conveyor chains with coated flight bars are available from retrofit conveyor chain manufacturers.
3.5.2.5 Dual Conveyor Sprocket and Chain
Continuous miners equipped with a dual conveyor sprocket and a corresponding dual sprocket conveyor
chain has been shown to reduce the machine operators overall noise exposure. This combination reduces
impact noise between the conveyor chain and the conveyor pan and tail roller.
3.5.2.6 Barriers
A barrier can be used to block and redirect sound away from the machine operator when a continuousmining machine is operated from an operators compartment. A clear barrier, such as plexiglass between
the operator and chain conveyor, has been shown to reduce the operators exposure. If the seam height
varies, the barrier can be hinged so it can be easily lowered.
3.5.2.7 Transfer Points
When a bridge haulage system is being used, proper alignment of the bridge sections will reduce impact
noise generated as the material drops at the transfer points.

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3.5.2.8 Maintenance
Proper maintenance of the continuous-mining machine can help eliminate noise sources such as loose
covers causing metal-on-metal impacts. Maintaining proper tension of the conveyor chain will also reduce
the noise generated by the flights impacting the side of pan and provide for a smoother transition of the
chain and flights around the tail piece.

3.5.3 Alternative Technology


Under certain situations, remote controls can be used as a noise control by increasing the distance
between the operator and the machine. The use of remote controls is dependent upon mining methodology
and is very site-specific. Manufacturers of continuous miners can provide details on remote control
systems for their machines.

3.5.4 Administrative Controls


The sound levels created by the chain conveyor on continuous-mining machines and bridges are
considerably higher when they are running with no material. Therefore, limiting the amount of time a
chain conveyor is run without conveying material can reduce the overall sound levels. In certain
situations, remote controls can be used as a noise control by increasing the distance between the operator
and the machine. In cases where remote controls and a scrubber are used, the operator must consider the
noise emitted from the scrubber exhaust when positioning them self. Standing directly behind the
scrubber exhaust can greatly increase sound levels and exposures. Manufacturers of continuous miners
can provide details on remote control systems for their machines.

3.6

Conveyors Chain

Conveyors transport the cut ore or coal from the gathering arms of a continuous miner to the discharge
point or from one end of a bridge section to the other. They are also utilized to transport ore or coal along
a longwall panel. They are constructed in sequences of several links of chain to a metal flight.

3.6.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


3.6.2 Retrofit Noise Controls
This section covers conveyors without noise controls. The effectiveness of noise controls depends upon
the quality of the acoustical materials and the installation. If a retrofit kit is unavailable, the acoustical
materials may be purchased in bulk from suppliers
3.6.2.1 A. Treated Pan Line
The conveyor pan line should be treated to dampen vibration and to isolate the chain and flights from the
pan. This can be accomplished with individual strips or full coverage. The chain turn-around should
provide smooth transition for the chain and flights.

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3.6.2.2 B. Motor Covers


The motor cover panels can be treated to reduce motor noise reaching the operator. The acoustical
materials needed for this treatment include an absorptive layer and a vibration damping layer.

Figure 22: Constrained-Layer Damping of Conveyor Pan Using Individual Strips

Figure 23: Constrained-Layer Damping of Conveyor Pan Using Full Coverage

3.6.2.3 C. Coated Conveyor Chains


The flight bars of the conveyor chain can be treated with a highly durable polyurethane coating to reduce
impact noise between the conveyor chain and the conveyor pan and tail roller. Conveyor chains with
coated flight bars are available from retrofit conveyor chain manufacturers.
3.6.2.4 D. Barriers
When a conveyor is operated from an operators compartment, a barrier can be used to block and redirect
sound away from the machine operator. A clear barrier, such as plexiglass, can be installed between the
operator and chain conveyor to reduce the operators exposure. If the seam height varies, the barrier can
be hinged so it can be easily raised and lowered.

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3.6.2.5 E. Transfer Points


When a bridge haulage system is being used, proper alignment of the bridge sections will reduce the
impact noise generated as the material drops at the transfer points.
3.6.2.6 F. Maintenance
Proper maintenance of the conveyor can help eliminate noise sources such as loose covers causing metalon-metal impacting the side of the pan. Maintaining proper tension of the conveyor chain will also reduce
the noise generated by the flights impacting the side of pan this will provide a smoother transition of the
chain and flights around the tail piece.

3.6.3 Alternative Technology


Under certain situations, remote controls can be used as a noise control by increasing the distance
between the operator and the machine. The use of remote controls is dependent upon mining methodology
and is very site-specific. Manufacturers of conveyors can provide details on remote control systems for
their machines.

3.6.4 Administrative Controls


The sound levels created by the chain conveyor and bridges are considerably higher when they are
running with no material on them. Therefore, limiting the amount of time a chain conveyor is run without
conveying material can reduce the overall sound levels.

3.7

Fan Systems Mine Ventilation

1. Special Enclosures can be made around the mechanical ventilators to reduce workers exposure.
2. Retrofit Noise Controls:The effectiveness of noise controls is dependent upon the quality of both
acoustical materials and installation. Replacement of a noisy fan with a quieter model is recommended. Use
of any noise control options in the above table is also suggested.
There is no alternative technology to such provisions.

3.8

Hand-Held Pneumatic and Electro-Pneumatic Drills

Hand-held pneumatic drills can be found in above ground (sandstone, limestone, and dimension stone) and
underground (coal, lead, and zinc) mining environments. In some situations, it is the primary tool used to
mine and in other situations it is used as a utility tool. Electropneumatic drills can be utilized in the same

Page 45 of 89

capacity as a pneumatic drill. Although the electro-pneumatic drill is quieter by design, its penetration rate
is markedly slower than that of a pneumatic drill and may be more suited to use as a utility tool.

3.8.1 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)

3.8.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


Install mufflers to reduce the exhaust air noise. Use equipment mufflers as provided by drill manufacturer.
Provide air pressure monitors and regulators at use locations. Use the lowest air pressure possible to
complete the task. Increased air pressure generates more noise without increasing work efficiency. Collar
the drill steel before applying full drilling pressure. Use drill steels of different materials and use the smallest
diameter steel to accomplish the task.

3.8.3 Alternate Technology


Use hydraulic drills. Use high pressure water-jet drills.

3.9

Load-Haul-Dump

Load-Haul-Dump machines are used primarily in conventional underground metal and non-metal mining.
They are used to scoop up ore and transport it a short distance, e.g. to load a truck or feed a crusher. They
come in a variety of sizes depending on the mine.

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3.9.1 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)

3.9.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


The standard noise controls, which can be applied to all LHDs, include sealing the openings between the
operators compartment and the transmission compartment. Installing an appropriately matched exhaust
silencer/muffler and the installation of acoustical materials reduces the noise on certain larger model
machines.

3.9.3 Alternative Technology


Under certain situations, remote controls can be used as a noise control by increasing the distance
between the operator and the machine. The use of remote controls is dependent upon mining methodology
and is very site-specific. Manufacturers of LHDs can provide details on remote control systems for their
machines.

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3.10 Loaders Face


3.10.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

Information from the manufacturer indicates that a sound-dampened conveyor can be engineered into new
equipment of this type. For underground loaders without noise controls, this retrofit noise control is
available.

3.10.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


This section is for underground loaders without noise controls. The effectiveness of noise controls is
dependent upon the quality of both the materials and installation techniques. If a retrofit kit is unavailable,
the materials may be purchased in bulk from manufacturers using Appendix C as a reference. The following
figure illustrates where the predominant noise is being generated on a loading machine and where the
acoustical materials should be installed.

Figure 24: Areas Where Retrofit Noise Controls Should be Installed

3.10.2.1 A. Conveyor Pan Line and Chain Turn-Around Noise


The conveyor pan line should be treated to dampen vibration. Isolating the chain and flights from the pan
is also recommended. This can be accomplished with individual steel strips or full coverage, as shown in
the illustration below. The chain turn-around should provide a smooth transition for the chain and flights.

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3.10.2.2 B. Hydraulic Pump Compartments


These pump compartments should be treated with both a barrier and absorptive-type acoustical materials
so that the pump noise will be contained within the enclosure. Vibration material should also be installed
where the pumps are mounted onto the loader structure. These areas are detailed in the illustration below.

3.10.3 Alternative Technology


Under certain situations, remote controls may be used as a noise control by increasing the distance between
the operator and the machine. The use of remote controls is dependent upon mining methodology and is
very site-specific.

3.11 Locomotives - Diesel


Diesel powered locomotives are utilized to transport coal, ore, workers, and other materials underground in
mine cars.

3.11.1 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)


The following table illustrates OEMs offering noise controls for new diesel locomotives as standard
equipment. Local dealers should be contacted for availability and further details.

3.11.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


This section deals with diesel locomotives without any noise controls. The effectiveness of the retrofit
noise controls is dependent upon the quality of both acoustical materials and installation. Installation of
composite acoustical material should be applied around the operator compartment and the transmission

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enclosed on some models when it is located near the operators position. The manufacturer should be
contacted regarding this installation to ensure that an overheating problem does not occur.

3.12 Longwalls - Shear and Plow


Longwall mining is a method of removing coal from an extended working face or wall. There are two
distinct types of machines that are used to accomplish this task. A shearing machine makes vertical cuts in
coal while a plow uses steel blades to plane the coal off the face. Radio remote controls for longwall systems
are used for roof supports, cutter/shearer, plow systems, support movers, chain and chainless haulage units,
and stage loaders. These controls tend to be more expensive than umbilical remote control systems.

3.12.1 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)

3.12.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


At the present time, no commercially available retrofit noise controls exist. Therefore, operator developed
retrofit noise controls and preventive maintenance on longwall systems equipment is recommended.
Retrofit noise controls which can be implemented include:
A. Locate the pump station in the intake entry, outby the headgate, away from where miners normally
perform their duties.
B. Fully enclose the stage loader (except for the entrances and exits) with secure, sealed, rigid covers.

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C. Attenuate the stage loader scrubbers as much as possible. Direct scrubber discharge away from operator
locations.
D. Install sound-absorptive material on motors, panels, and gearboxes provided that overheating does not
occur.
E. Design the entrance doors or chain curtains on the crusher to minimize the number of loose parts that
can rattle. If possible, replace the chain curtains with conveyor belting.
F. Cover the end of the stage loader discharge with conveyor belting.
G. Attach belting to the shearer spray arms in a manner so that the belting extends above the spray arms.

3.12.3 Alternative Technology


Under certain situations, remote controls may be used as a noise control by increasing the distance between
the operator and the machine. The use of remote controls is dependent upon mining methodology and is
very site-specific.

3.12.4 Maintenance
Proper maintenance of machine pan lines may reduce noise levels as much as 10 dBA. Maintain proper
conveyor chain tension as both over-tensioned and under-tensioned chains can cause increased noise levels.
Adjust the pan line flight bar spacing so that flight bars do not contact all the pan line joints simultaneously.

3.13 Mantrips Rail-Mounted


Rail-mounted mantrips are used to transport workers in mines. They are either diesel powered or electrically
powered from trolley wires. Mantrips can be utilized in both metal and non-metal mines as well as coal
mines.

3.13.1 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)


The following table illustrates OEMs offering noise controls for new personnel/mantrip railmounted
carriers. Local dealers should be contacted for availability and further details. For personnel/mantrip
vehicles without noise controls, retrofit noise controls are needed.

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3.13.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


The following OEMs offer retrofit noise controls for personnel/mantrip carriers. Local dealers should be
contacted for availability and further details.

Figure 25: Absorption Material Used to Insulate Inner Surfaces of Cabs or Passenger Compartment

Vibration isolation and/or damping material or components may be installed on certain components such
as motors and sheet metal panels. Some standard components may be replaced with noise controlled
components.

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3.14 Roof Bolters


Roof bolters are machines designed to drill boreholes into the roof of a mine. These holes allow for the
insertion of a long steel bolt that strengthens the pinning of the rock strata above by means of a split cone,
grouted bolt, or other device. Roof bolters are used in most underground mining operations.

3.14.1 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)


At the present time, there are no OEMs that offer or engineer a noise control package for new underground
roof bolting machines as standard equipment. There are however, a number of instructional and mechanical
features available from the OEMs that do play significant roles in reducing the noise exposure of the roof
bolter operator. Such features include:
A. Newer models of roof bolting machines have quieter hydraulic motors.
B. New models with dry dust collection systems have dust blower motors that only operate when the drill
head is in use. This feature completely eliminates a phenomenon called Drill Pot Whistle. The whistle
in some cases is due to air traveling across sharp edges/cavities in the drill pot or chuck insert. In field
studies, the whistle has been measured at a constant 104 dBA at the drill pot without drill steel inserted.
C. Another new feature on some roof bolting machines is a computer-assisted drill cycle which regulates
the rotational speed and thrust based on the rock that is being drilled. Drill steel guides are often used in
conjunction with this process. Both of these features promote the correct alignment of the drill steel, thereby
helping to facilitate minimal amounts of side-hole-to-drill-steel contact and allowing the roof bolter
operators an opportunity to physically distance themselves from the drilling of the hole; the dominant noise
source for the roof bolter.
D. Roof bolting machines should be equipped with the appropriate exhaust muffler. Some OEMs have
exhaust conditioners/water boxes available. A water box is a divided chamber (partially filled with water)
where the mufflers exhaust terminates. In field studies, reductions of 3 - 8 dBA were measured at the
bumper/near operators deck and < 1 2 dBA at the operators position at the front of the roof bolter.
However, other evaluations have shown that this device has little effect on the operators exposure. The
effectiveness of this device needs to be examined on a case-by-case basis.
E. Follow the OEMs maintenance recommendations regarding the upkeep of the roof bolter. Checklists
and maintenance schedule guides (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) are provided for most roof bolting
machines. A good maintenance program can eliminate two of the most significant noise sources at the drill
pot: 1. A worn/drifting drill pot results in a misaligned drill hole, which increases the amount of side-holePage 53 of 89

to-drill steel contact. 2. Holes in drill pot vacuum hoses promote clogged drill steel, thereby leading to
banging of the drill steel, an increase in cycle time, and increased exposure time.
F. Follow the OEMs recommendations for rotational speed and thrust. These recommendations are based
on the type of rock and the length of hole that is to be drilled. Also, follow the OEMs recommendations
regarding vacuum for the dry-dust collection system. Low vacuum promotes clogged drill steel.
G. It is also important to address the usage of the best possible tools for the task of drilling the holes: 1. The
use of sharp drill bits limits lateral drift of the hole, which reduces side-hole-todrill-steel contact and helps
to sustain the penetration rate.
2. Use the straightest and most dense drill steel that is compatible with the roof bolting machines drill
pot/chuck insert. The thickness of the straight drill steel limits the flexing of the steel, thereby limiting the
potential for side-hole-to-drill-steel contact.
3. It is imperative that aligned/straight hole is drilled. To help achieve this, the use of starter steel of no
more than 2-feet in length is recommended.
4. Use drill bit and chuck isolators to reduce roof bolting machine drilling noise. A drill bit isolator breaks
the steel-to-steel link between the drill bit and the drill steel. A chuck isolator breaks the mechanical
connection between the drill steel and the chuck. This effectively reduces the noise radiated by the drill
steel and the chuck and reduces the noise exposure of the roof bolter operator.
The implementation of these features/recommendations can help to facilitate the good working order of the
roof bolting machine, which is of foremost importance in the effort to reduce the exposure of the bolter
operator to high sound levels. Local dealers may be contacted for availability of state-of-the-art and other
noise control options for underground roof bolting machines.

3.14.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


Exhaust conditioners/water boxes can be installed on most dry-dust exhaust systems. If such a device is
retrofitted, contact your MSHA district office for instructions regarding a Field Modification for the dust
collection system approval. Install a durable material (such as belting) as liners in the tool trays and on top
of the roof bolter. Consider constructing a partial barrier (three-sided) between the operator and the drilling
mechanism. Some roof bolting machines can accommodate such a barrier.

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3.14.3 Alternative Technology


Wet drilling is a viable alternative to dry-dust drilling systems; however, it is not suitable to all mining
environments. In field studies of wet drilling systems, reductions in sound levels were found to range from
3 -10 dBA. The wet systems that are available can regulate the water flow so that only the amount of water
necessary to clear the hole is supplied. Sharp drill bits and straight, dense drill steel play the same important
role in a wet system as in a dry system. Wet drilling systems are available from OEMs and as retrofits. The
effective use of wet drilling systems can vary from mine to mine and is often a function of the mine
environment. It needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

3.15 Roof Scalers


Roof scalers are a type of machine designed with a telescopic boom with either a hammer or a pick at its
terminus. The purpose of the machine is to safely remove loose material from the roof of a mine.

3.15.1 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)


The following table illustrates OEMs offering noise controls for new roof scalers. Local dealers can provide
cost and availability information on noise controls available. Some manufacturers will build a unit to
specific needs.

The scalers are powered by diesel engines, which are considered to be a primary noise source. If the
hydraulic hammer is used for scaling, then the percussive hammer noise would be considered an additional
noise source. The height of the mine seam will determine the size of the scaler needed. Local dealers can
generally advise customers on their particular application.

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3.15.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


The effectiveness of noise controls is dependent upon the quality of both the acoustical materials and
installation techniques. If a retrofit kit is not available, the materials may be purchased in bulk form using
Appendix C as a reference.
The majority of noise associated with scalers is produced by the diesel engines and percussive noise when
using a hydraulic hammer.
Acoustical Treatment of Operator Cab Enclosure: The enclosure should be treated with acoustical
materials for the purpose of reducing the overall noise at the operators position. These materials should
cover as much surface area as possible without hindering the operators vision or movement. A unique
problem with scalers is that a wide range of visibility is needed for operator control. Another problem is
that roof debris will be falling, and possibly shattering on the floor and flying towards the cab. If safety
glass or shatterproof plastic is to be used, it will have to be cleaned regularly due to dust build-up. One
positive note on controlling scaler noise is that the diesel engine is generally located to the rear of the
operator, with the majority of noise controlling effort focused behind the operator. It should be noted that
with any enclosure work (equipment or personnel), heat build-up can become a concern and appropriate
ventilation or air-conditioning may be needed. To assist in the selection and installation of acoustical
materials for the above option, please refer to the appropriate appendices in the rear of this manual.

3.16 Shuttle Cars - Diesel


Diesel-powered shuttle cars are utilized to transport coal or other ores from an underground working face
area to a crusher/breaker or directly to a hopper that feeds the main conveyor belt line.

3.16.1 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)


The following table illustrates OEMs offering noise controls for new diesel shuttle cars as standard
equipment. Local dealers should be contacted for availability and further details. For diesel shuttle cars
without noise controls, additional retrofit noise controls are needed.

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3.17 Case Study: Field Studies by MSHA


In its advice concerning controlling noise, MSHA emphasizes a reduction in daily noise exposure or dose.
To accommodate this, noise controls should be evaluated in the environments in which they will be used.
Initially, a sound level meter should be used to assess a noise control by measuring the sound level without
and with the noise control. If the application of a noise control does not reduce sound levels, then this
control is ineffective at reducing noise, assuming all other factors have remained constant. Once a control
is applied that reduces sound levels, changes in noise exposure can be assessed through dosimetry.
Engineering noise controls can be difficult and expensive to implement. For complex noise problems, it is
best to consult with a professional noise control engineer before implementing a solution. However, some
simple measures to reduce sound levels, including proper maintenance of mining equipment, are easy to
implement. This document details results of testing of barriers and sound-absorbing materials used to
control sound levels on and around machinery at several mine sites. To show the detail of the measurements,
the sound levels are reported to the nearest 0.1 dB. However, for general use, rounding to the nearest whole
number is permissible.

3.18 Evaluating Noise Controls for 4 Load-Haul-Dumps: Field Studies by MSHA


3.18.1 Engine Enclosure
The engineering noise controls on the machine consisted of a partial engine enclosure and soundabsorbing material in the engine compartment and in the cab. The engine enclosure on the left (operator)
side of the machine was composed of 0.125-inch-thick steel panels insulated with 1.5-inch-thick
fiberglass sound-absorbing material. Engine areas not covered by steel were covered with 0.25-inch-thick
rubber that NIOSH researchers believed to be used conveyer belt material.

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Figure 26: Left side of the engine enclosure

The front and back of the steel panels that covered the left side of the engine. The right side of the engine
enclosure of 0.25-inch-thick rubber that did not completely cover the engine compartment opening.

Figure 27: Front and back of the steel panels insulated with 1.5-inch-thick fiberglass.

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Figure 28: LHD partial engine enclosure, right side.

Sound levels at the operators position were measured both on the surface and underground with the
engine at high idle. Measurements were made with both sides of the engine enclosure on or off, and then
with the right side off and the left side either on or off. Table 6 gives the results. The measurements on the
surface show that the full enclosure reduced the sound level by about 1 dB(A). Because these LHDs are
primarily used underground, the underground results are more important. Comparing the surface and
underground measurements, the underground environment adds about 3 to 4 dB(A) to the sound level at
the operators ear. The table shows the application of all controls in the underground environment resulted
in an attenuation of 1.5 dB(A) at the operator position.
Table 8: Sound level for LHD1 at the operators position, high idle

3.18.2 Engine Enclosure 2


The noise controls on the machine consisted of a partial engine enclosure, absorptive material in the engine
compartment, and professionally installed noise control material in the open cab. The top portion of the
engine enclosure was composed of 0.375-inch-thick steel panels lined with quilted fiberglass soundabsorbing material. The left side of the engine was almost completely enclosed by 0.125-inch-thick steel
panels with quilted sound absorption. However, the picture shows several gaps around the perimeter of the
steel panels.The right side of the engine compartment was not enclosed. Sound levels were measured at the
operators position with the engine at low and high idle with the noise controls described above. At low
idle, the sound levels were about 75 dB(A) on the surface and slightly less than 80 dB(A) underground.

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With the engine at low idle, the sound level was measured underground with the machine in reverse and
the back-up alarm sounding. In this case, the sound level was 95.4 dB(A).

Figure 29: Left side partial engine enclosure.

Figure 30: Quilted absorber inside the engine compartment.

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Figure 31: Right side and top of engine compartment.


Table 9: Sound level for LHD2 at the operators position, high idle

Figure 32: In-cab one-third-octave band spectrum for LHD2 at high idle with engine compartment open.

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It is interesting to note that the 80 Hz one-third-octave band is the highest. Noise at the engine firing
frequency is contained in this band. Perhaps a larger muffler would have reduced the sound level of the
machine. The presence of significant low frequency energy points to the cooling fan as a likely noise source.
Neither exhaust noise at the engine firing frequency nor cooling fan noise would be significantly affected
by noise controls applied to the engine enclosure.

3.18.3 Enclosed Operator Cab


The noise control installed on the evaluated machine consisted of a glass-enclosed cab lined with vinylfaced, 1-inch-thick open cell foam with an attached barrier material. Window-frame and upper door
modifications were required for glass panes to be installed within the frames. All of the modifications
were cleared with the manufacturer to ensure that the integrity of the falling object protective structure
was not adversely affected.

Figure 33: Open cell foam used for in-cab sound absorption.

Figure 34: Enclosed cab with glass in place

With the machine underground, NIOSH researchers simultaneously measured sound levels inside and
outside of the cab with the engine at high idle. In addition, sound levels were measured above, in front, to
the right, and to the rear of the cab with and without the glass panels installed. The exterior measurements
were also used to ensure that the sound level generated by the LHD did not vary much during the course of
the measurement period. The results indicate that the completely enclosed cab produced greater than 20
dB(A) of noise reduction. Even without the front window installed, more than 10 dB(A) of reduction was
achieved.

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Table 10: Sound level for LHD3 at the operators position, high idle, underground measurement

Partial engine enclosures with openings of any size greatly compromise the noise reduction capability of
the enclosure. This is especially true underground, where sound initially directed away from an operator
can strike the walls and reflect back to the operator. To be effective at reducing the sound levels reaching
the operator, enclosures must be designed to minimize holes and gaps, especially those with line of sight
between the noise source and the operator. The most effective noise-reducing enclosures are airtight.
However, an airtight enclosure for a source that requires ventilation, such as an engine, is impractical
because it could lead to overheating and engine damage. The only openings in the engine compartment
should be those to allow cooling air into and out of the cooling package. For an LHD, if solid panels cannot
be used for the engine enclosure, a partial enclosure that incorporates overlapping materials or baffles,
similar to that suggested for haul trucks, should be used. Using a partial engine enclosure will decrease the
sound levels compared to an open engine compartment. However, an engine compartment with solid panels
is the best approach. As a rule of thumb, enclosures should be lined with sound-absorbing material to reduce
buildup of reverberant noise within the enclosure. Full coverage of all surfaces is not completely necessary
as the effect of adding sound-absorbing material decreases as more and more of the surfaces are covered.
The best approach to develop an enclosure is to first eliminate any gaps or leaks and then to add sound
absorbing material inside. For LHD2, the lined partial engine enclosure reduced the sound level by 1.5
dB(A) above ground. However, in the underground environment, the sound levels were not affected. This
is probably due to an increase in the contribution of cooling fan and exhaust noise to the sound level at the
operators ear in the underground environment. Underground, fan noise and exhaust noise can reflect from
the rib to the operator. In addition, the underground environment may have amplified the exhaust tones
corresponding to the engine firing rate. A fully enclosed environmental cab can provide 20 dB(A) or more
of noise reduction. Besides providing protection and comfort for the operator, environmental cabs are
designed to reduce exposures to occupational hazards such as dust and noise. When installing a retrofit cab,
it is wise to contact the original equipment manufacturer to ensure that the integrity of the falling object
protective structure is not compromised. In addition, once the cab is enclosed, a climate control system
should be installed to ensure the safety and comfort of the equipment operator.
The results of testing done with LHD3 indicate that the completely enclosed cab reduced noise by more
than 20 dB(A). Sound levels were reduced more than 10 dB(A) even with the back window removed.
This shows that if completely enclosing an operators cab is not feasible, a properly designed 3/4-cab
enclosure can provide a substantial noise reduction. The resulting noise reduction will depend on the
location of noise sources on the machine relative to the open area of the 3/4-cab. If there are no significant
noise sources near the open area, the partial cab can still provide a substantial noise reduction. However,
if a noise source has line of sight with the operator due to the exclusion of a side, the partial cab will not
be effective.

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3.19 Adapting Active Noise Control Headsets for the Mining Industry
Noise induced hearing loss and its consequences with regard to Occupational Health and Safety remain a
major problem in the Coal Industry, especially underground. Meanwhile, National Standards for exposure
to noise in the occupational environment are being lowered from an 8-hour equivalent continuous Aweighted sound pressure level of 90 dBA to 85 dBA. The most desirable solution is of course to treat the
noise problem at source. Where noise control strategies are not feasible, the use of hearing protection
devices remains the most widely used strategy for limiting the exposure to noise in the work place.
In the underground coal mining industry however, it is widely recognized that the use of certain forms of
hearing protection is far from satisfactory. Some of the reasons given by miners for their reluctance to wear
hearing protection are that hearing protection devices such as ear muffs are uncomfortable, they interfere
with speech communication, and they impair the miners ability to hear the audible signals of potential roof
fall, the roof talk.
Active Noise Control as applied to hearing protection is a technique which uses an electronically generated
sound field to cancel unwanted noise, based on the principle that superposition of a signal on an identical
signal which is 180 out-of-phase results in mutual cancellation of the two signals.
This project aims to demonstrate the applicability of and to establish design specifications for ANC (Active
Noise Control) Headsets for use in the coal mining industry, especially underground.
Noise measurements on production equipment, development equipment, and personnel transport vehicles
were carried out at several underground coal mines. These measurements were supplemented with data
from previous underground noise surveys and analysed to identify equipment with excessively high noise
levels and to determine the sound pressure levels and frequency characteristics of the offending noise. The
spectral analysis of the recorded data showed considerable variation in the noise levels experienced by
miners due to the wide range of equipment used. Overall however, the noise is broadband having most
energy in the 400 to 2000 Hz band.
A market survey of existing ANC Headsets was carried out and six units were acquired for evaluation. The
evaluation of the headsets involved a series of noise attenuation performance tests carried out on an artificial
head at National Acoustics Laboratories (NAL), a series of environmental tests carried out at Vipac's
Victorian Technology Centre in Melbourne and a series of subjective evaluation tests carried out at several
mines via user interviews.
The NAL tests showed some devices to benefit from a significantly improved noise attenuation
performance at low frequencies thanks to the ANC system. Using the measured noise from a continuous
miner and the measured noise attenuation performance of one of the ANC headsets under evaluation as an
example, it was demonstrated that with Active Noise Control, the overall Leq noise level was reduced from
90 dBA (with passive hearing protection only) to 77 dBA.
The subjective tests, of the headsets involved playing back tape recorded underground coal mining
machinery noise to mine personnel through an amplifier speaker system and inviting the participants to
listen to the noise with and without the headset operating. Although only a limited number of people took
part in the trials, the user impression of the ANC headsets collected via a questionnaire at three different
mines revealed a generally positive response of the miners to the idea of using ANC headsets for hearing
protection. In particular, the improvement in speech intelligibility with the Active Noise Control system
was the highlight of the ANC devices. However, the general operator acceptability for these devices in their
current form was very low, especially with regards to power supply and ruggedness.
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The Vipac Laboratory environmental tests revealed that, in their current form, the ANC headsets tested are
also unsuitable for use in underground coal mines and would need to be re-engineered if they are to be used
successfully underground.
The final part of the project has been to establish a set of specifications for the manufacturers to use in
developing ANC headsets for use underground.

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4 Noise Control in Mineral Processing Plants


4.1

Introduction

1. Minerals can only be worked where they are found. As a result, mineral working and associated waste
disposal may need to be consented adjacent to residential areas, in areas of landscape importance or other
sensitive locations. Extraction and restoration processes are of a temporary nature but activities on a site
can last for many years and may have the potential for disturbing an area for a decade or more. For these
reasons it is particularly important that the authority has careful regard to noise in determining planning
decisions on minerals or waste.
2. However, because workings vary greatly, it may be necessary to apply different standards in some
circumstances.
3. Mineral workings require restoration. This is usually done by backfilling with waste materials and
therefore mineral working and waste disposal often represent two parts of the same proposed noise
generation process. Landfill operations are in many respects similar to mineral extraction and the two
operations can often be considered together.

4.2

Static Processing Plant

1. The fixed plant used for processing the mineral or manufacturing products will, on many sites, be in
place for many years. Its location, type and arrangement should be considered with care to ensure the
minimum environmental noise impact. For instance noise sources should be kept low and can often be
screened by suitably located stock piles.
2. For noise lacking any particular character, such as squeaks, bangs or unpleasant acoustic tonal
components that would attract attention, Table 2 shows the limits that would normally be appropriate at
any noise sensitive area or development. If there is a distinct characteristic to the noise, the limits would
be reduced by 5 dB(A).

3. It is not intended that plant will be used other than during the normal working day. If it is essential to use
the plant at other times specific written limits will be set by the planning authority.

4.3

Mobile Operations

1. Every effort shall be made to operate the site so as to minimize noise at all times perhaps by working
below a face and towards houses. The levels in the table below are only appropriate where noise cannot
be reduced further, they are not to be regarded as a working norm.
2. The Guideline figures in Table 3 allow, for short periods, quite high noise levels that will be disturbing
to some people. By adopting this approach it is intended to minimize the mineral sterilized beneath wide
margins, whilst sites should generally comply with the normal limits higher noise levels may be permitted
for a short period if every effort has been made to minimize noise on the site overall.

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3. Where noise levels might exceed the lower criterion at either end of the working day operations will have
to be arranged to avoid this, perhaps by working at other locations at these times. This will require detailed
forward planning by the operators. If such arrangements cannot or have not been made the operational hours
will have to be limited to the later start and earlier finish.
4. Where existing daytime noise levels are below LA90=35 dB(A) it would not normally be reasonable to
require the new noise to be less than LAeq=45 dB(A) although noise levels must be kept as low as possible.

4.4

Permanent Installation of Plant

1. Most permanent installations associated with oil and gas operations are likely to be working
continuously and therefore noise control is of the utmost importance to prevent a deterioration in the local
environment. Other mineral and waste disposal activities may also have permanent continuously running
plant to which this section applies.
2. The normal requirement is that any plant that is in operation at night should not be heard at the nearest
noise sensitive location. Inaudibility is difficult to define but the requirements of this authority would be
satisfied if the following three criteria are met.
3. Because noise levels vary from night to night it might be difficult to agree the "standard" LA90 value.
The standard conditions should be calm settled weather without any noise from activities that may not be
normal for the area. Generally occasional aircraft and the passing car or motorbike and other occasional
noises that may not be typical of the whole area, animals in a nearby field for example, should be
excluded.

4.5

Monitoring

During the night the level of noise at any noise sensitive receiver should be inaudible and therefore cannot
be monitored objectively at that location. A subjective test would be to visit the noise sensitive location to
see if the noise could be heard but this is not a satisfactory method of monitoring. A more objective test is
normally required that can be monitored during normal working hours. A noise level should be calculated
for a point which is closer than the noise sensitive properties and where the plant noise to be monitored is
well above daytime background level. That defined noise level and location can then be used as a noise
control standard.

4.6

Waste Disposal Facilities

This category of site includes the significant raising of the restored level of old mineral / waste disposal
sites above their original ground level or waste disposal in areas not previously used for mineral
extraction. The planning authority might accept a short term (2 weeks) noise level up to 5 dB(A) above
the limits in the previous table in order to achieve more efficient use of some site areas so long as the
development was considered environmentally satisfactory overall.
Sites for the transfer, treatment or processing of waste will normally be located in urban areas. This could
pose problems of noise because of their proximity to noise sensitive premises. Where operations and/or
plant have to run at night (e.g. an incinerator) it will normally be required that such operations will be
inaudible at the nearest noise sensitive area.

4.7

Engineering Controls

Mills and preparation plants do not exhibit the acoustical characteristics of a single, constant diffuse noise
field. There are many noise sources and the additive effects appear to generate one diffuse sound field
having a constant sound level however, distancing the miner from a specific noise source may result in a
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lowering of the noise exposure. Distance is a good noise control, but it is hard to administratively regulate
however, barriers may be used as a substitute for distance.

4.7.1 Barriers
Barriers reduce noise exposure by isolating miners from the sound source and can be applied to
practically all noise sources. The barrier can be as simple as a suspended piece of curtain or as complex as
a concrete wall or control room. The primary purpose is to disturb or interrupt the noise path. Many types
of materials are available depending on the noise source and plant layout. The use of clear vinyl curtains
has been proven to provide a cost-effective barrier around equipment, walkways, stairwells, and work
stations. Curtains can be purchased in various thickness, widths, and lengths, and are generally adaptable
to most installations. There should be a sufficient overlap of curtains to ensure their effectiveness.

Figure 35: Barriers

Solid walls, floors, and total enclosures such as booths, can also be constructed as barriers. A variety of
ordinary building materials may be used. Noise control materials may also be engineered into the
construction.

4.7.2 Equipment Controls


Stationary pieces of equipment in mills and preparation plants are the primary noise generating sources.
These are the large pieces of machinery that perform multiple functions, such as sizing and classifying the
product. There have been no recent noise control innovations in the design of mills and preparation plant
equipment; however, there are engineering principles that can be applied to reduce employee exposure. A
good routine maintenance program that includes tightening loose parts, lubrication, and replacement of
worn material is a must. Vibration isolation mounts are also available for most equipment. The mounts help
isolate the plants components and reduce noise generation and transmission. Noise reduction can also be
accomplished by replacement of existing components with quieter equipment, using a different process, or
relocating equipment. This may not be feasible for larger pieces of equipment due to process requirements,
size, and cost; however, as facilities are upgraded or equipment wears out, these options should be
considered.

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4.7.3 Other Controls


Many processes in mills and preparation plants can be remotely monitored using technology. Remote
cameras are available to watch certain areas in the plant to reduce the time miners spend in noisy areas.
Technology also exists to monitor plant functions and adjust the material flow and processes from a remote
location. Routine preventive maintenance and breakdowns can also be predicted by monitoring the
temperature, vibration, and amperage of plant equipment. Relocation of equipment controls is another
method to reduce personnel noise exposure. Plant circuit operators can have their controls moved behind a
barrier or into a quiet booth. Lubrication hoses can also be routed to a central location where noise controls
can be utilized or the use of automatic lubrication devices implemented.

4.8

Administrative Controls

There are many possible combinations of administrative controls that may be used to reduce employee
noise exposure. The issue is too variable and complex to discuss at length due to employee specialization,
wage agreements, and employee availability, among other considerations. The general techniques to
consider are time management, including maintenance during idle time and worker rotation. In addition,
dividing routine work between different shifts and changing the actual shift length are administrative
controls that can be utilized.
There is no single control that will eliminate mill and preparation plant noise. A combination of controls
will be needed to reach the goal of reducing employee noise exposure. Meaningful reductions can be
achieved with the use of some or all of the engineering controls discussed in this document. While
reductions may not be attained with engineering controls alone, they may make previously impractical
administrative controls feasible. Due to longevity of mills and preparation plants, noise controls are an
important consideration when these plants are designed and built. While controls should be engineered into
new plant construction, where that has not been done, they should be added as a retrofit.

4.9

Centrifugal Dewaterers

A centrifugal dewaterer is a rotating device used to separate suspended colloidal particles such as clay or
coal from slurry. The centrifugal force created by the rotation causes the particles to move from the
center of the dewaterer to the outside edges where they are collected.

Page 69 of 89

4.9.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


The following is a list of OEMs that manufacture centrifugal dewatering machines.

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.

Andritz Separation, Inc.


Conn-Weld Industries, Inc.
F.L. Smidth Krebs
F.L. Smidth Salt Lake City, Inc.
Guyan Heavy Equipment
Sweco

Information from the manufacturers indicates that there is no noise controls incorporated into the new
equipment of this type. Centrifugal dewatering machines without noise controls need to have additional
retrofit noise controls.

4.9.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


This section is for centrifugal dewatering machines without noise controls. The effectiveness of noise
controls is dependent upon the quality of both the acoustical materials and installation techniques. The
majority of noise associated with centrifugal dewatering equipment is produced by the highspeed
circulating internal pump parts and drive motors.

A. Acoustical Enclosure around the Equipment


The enclosure can be either a prefabricated metal, lead-vinyl curtain, or a clear vinyl-strip curtain.
The type of enclosure chosen will generally be determined by the equipments dimensions,
maintenance requirements, and the cost of the enclosure.

B. Acoustical Enclosure for Operators in the Area


Operator enclosures can be purchased prefabricated with acoustical windows/doors, heating, airconditioning, lighting, and communications already designed into the enclosure. An alternative
to purchasing would be to construct an enclosure using common building supplies.

4.9.3 Alternative Technology


There is no alternative technology.

4.10 Chutes
Chutes are used to transport material in a confined area. They are commonly utilized in preparation
plants allowing material to fall through them to a lower level for further processing or to be deposited for
stockpiling.

Page 70 of 89

4.10.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


The following is a list of OEMs that have noise controls available for chutes. Dealers should be
contacted for specific needs and details.

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
I.
J.
K.

Aggregates Equipment, Inc.


Ceramic Technology, Inc.
Cerline Ceramic Corporation
Chapel Steel
Daniels Company
Jervis B. Webb Company
Kanawha Manufacturing Co.
Metso Minerals Industries, Inc.
Sly Inc.
Trelleborg Engineered Systems
Weir Minerals Linatex

4.10.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


A. Chute Liners and Wear Resistant Material
The following is a list of manufacturers that have retrofit noise controls available for chutes.

1.
2.
3.
4.

Aggregates Equipment, Inc.


Ceramic Technology, Inc.
Cerline Ceramic Corporation
C.U.E., Inc.

Page 71 of 89

5. Metso Minerals Industries, Inc.


6. Trelleborg Engineered Systems
7. Weir Minerals Linatex
B. Rock Boxes/Dead Beds
Another method to reduce the impact noise generated by the flow of material in chutes is to
create rock boxes or dead beds. This allows the product to accumulate in impact areas, resulting
in the moving product impacting upon itself, instead of against the metal chute.

C. Wrapping Chute with Composite Acoustical or Vibration Damping Material


Enclosing the entire chute with a composite acoustical material can help contain some of the
noise generated from the flow of material. The walls of the chute also vibrate when material
strikes them. This vibration can be reduced by applying or fastening a vibration damping
material to the walls. The material is designed to strengthen the walls and reduce the resonance.

Figure 36: Noise Damping Material Applied at a Conveyor Transfer Point

Figure 37: Noise Damping Material Applied to the Base of a Chute

Page 72 of 89

4.10.3 Alternative Technology


There is no alternative technology.

4.11 Compressors/Compressed Air


A compressor is a machine driven by a power take off, an internal combustion engine, or an electric
motor to generate compressed air. This compressed air can be used to discharge cement from mills, carry
material through air slides, and unblock clogs in chutes. Another use is to power drills on the surface and
underground.

4.11.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


The following is a listing of the OEMs that have noise controls available for compressors. Dealers and
rebuild shops should be contacted for specific needs and details.

A. Gardner-Denver, Inc.
B. Ingersoll-Rand
C. Sullair Corporation
Information from the manufacturers indicates that the noise controls incorporated into the new equipment
are in the form of sound absorption material behind door covers and exhaust mufflers. For compressors
without noise controls, additional retrofit noise controls are needed.

4.11.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


This section is for compressors without noise controls. The effectiveness of noise controls is dependent
upon the quality of both the acoustical materials and the installation techniques.
If a retrofit kit is unavailable, acoustical materials may be purchased in bulk using Appendix B as a
reference.
The majority of noise associated with compressors is produced by the internal parts, cooling fan blades,
and the compressed air exhaust.

Page 73 of 89

A. Acoustical Enclosure around the Equipment


The enclosure can be either a prefabricated metal, lead-vinyl curtain, or a clear vinyl-strip curtain.
The type of enclosure chosen will generally be determined by the equipments dimensions,
maintenance requirements, and the cost of the enclosure.

B. Re-route the Intake and Exhaust of the Compressor and Various Air-Driven
Tools
A 90-degree elbow can be installed on the intake of a compressor. The elbow will redirect the
noise above the employees ear level. An elbow may be purchased or constructed using common
building supplies.

Re - route Intake

Re - route Exhaust
Page 74 of 89

Figure 38: Example of a 90-degree Elbow

The exhaust from air-driven tools and components can also be vented to another area of the plant
or outside the facility. This can be accomplished using hydraulic hose and fittings or ordinary
PVC pipe.

C. Acoustical Enclosure for Operators in the Area


Prefabricated operator enclosures can be purchased with acoustical windows/doors, heating, air
conditioning, lighting, and communications already designed into the enclosure. An alternative
would be to construct an enclosure using common building supplies.

4.11.3 Alternative Technology


There is no alternative technology.

4.12 Crushers
Crushers are utilized to reduce the size of material passing through them. Among the various types of
crushers are the cone, impact, gyratory, and roller. Crushers are frequently used in tandem with the
primary crusher located in the pit and secondary ones in a processing plant.
Underground crushers are utilized prior to transporting the ore out of the mine.

4.12.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


The following list illustrates OEMs that have noise controls available for crushers, but is not all inclusive.
The companies listed represent the major suppliers of crushers.

A.
B.
C.
D.

Cedarapids, Inc.
Eagle Crusher Company
Hazemag USA, Inc.
Komatsu America Corp.
Page 75 of 89

E.
F.
G.
H.

Metso Minerals Industries, Inc.


P&H MinePro Services
Pennsylvania Crusher Corporation
Telsmith, Inc.

4.12.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


The utilization of retrofit noise controls on crushers is somewhat limited. None of the following
manufacturers actively market noise controls for crushers. Resilient crusher feed plates, resilient feed
cone liners, and mass-loaded barrier curtains are available from a variety of manufacturers.
A. Cedarapids, Inc.
B. C.U.E., Inc.
C. Eagle Crusher Company
D. Goodman-Hewitt
E. Hazemag USA, Inc.
F. Komatsu America Corp.
G. Metso Minerals Industries, Inc.
H. P&H MinePro Services
I. Pennsylvania Crusher Corporation
J. Telsmith, Inc.

Page 76 of 89

Figure 39: Installation of a Resilient Crusher Feed Plate

Page 77 of 89

Figure 40: Installation of a Resilient Crusher Feed Cone Shell

Figure 41: Installation of One-Piece Resilient Crusher Feed Core Liner

Page 78 of 89

Figure 42: Barrier Curtain for Crusher Mainframe Feed Core Liner

If the crusher power is supplied by an internal combustion engine, an appropriately matched and maintained
exhaust system is very effective in reducing the overall sound levels. The termination point of the muffler
should be pointed away from the crusher operator.

A. Acoustical Enclosure for Operations in the Area


The most effective noise control that can be implemented in conjunction with crushers is a welldesigned, acoustically-treated control booth. The effectiveness of such booths is greatly enhanced
by structurally isolating them from the crusher or de-coupling them from the mainframe of the
crusher with air bags. Visibility requirements can be met through either the use of appropriatelypositioned windows or with remote-controlled cameras.

B. Acoustical Enclosure around the Equipment


The enclosure can be a prefabricated metal, lead-vinyl curtain, or clear vinyl-strip curtain. An
acoustical enclosure may be the best alternative for small crushers. Large crushers should be
located outside or away from the facility, if possible.

4.12.3 Alternative Technology


There is no alternative technology.

Page 79 of 89

4.13 Hoppers
Hoppers are vessels into which materials are fed for future discharge at a controlled rate. Typically, they
are constructed in an inverted pyramid or cone shape. They are most commonly found in the crushed stone
and surface coal industries.

4.13.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


The following table illustrates OEMs that have noise controls available for new hoppers. Retrofit noise
control kits are typically not available from OEMs. Dealers should be contacted for availability and further
details.

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.

Continental Manufacturing Company


Daniels Company C. Dover Conveyor Inc.
Manufacturers Equipment Company
Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials
Trelleborg Engineered Systems
Universal Engineering
Vibra Screw Incorporated

4.13.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


Noise from impact points may be successfully treated through the installation of the products listed in the
following list. Consultation with the manufacturers regarding specific applications is highly recommended
in determining feasibility.

A. Hopper Liners and Wear Resistant Material


Page 80 of 89

The following is a list of manufacturers that have retrofit noise controls available for hoppers.
Dealers should be contacted for specific needs and details.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Aggregates Equipment, Inc.


Ceramic Technology, Inc.
Cerline Ceramic Corporation
C.U.E., Inc.
Metso Minerals Industries, Inc.
Weir Minerals Linatex

For smaller hoppers and transfer areas, the retrofit noise controls for chutes may be applicable.
Acoustical operator enclosures with cameras may also be a solution. If a retrofit kit is
unavailable, acoustical materials may be purchased in bulk using Appendix B as a reference.

B. Rock Boxes/Dead Beds


Another method to reduce the impact noise generated by the flow of material in hoppers is to
create rock boxes or dead beds. This allows the product to accumulate in impact areas, resulting
in the moving product impacting upon itself, instead of against the metal hopper.

C. Wrapping Hopper with Composite Acoustical or Vibration Damping Material


Enclosing the entire hopper with a composite acoustical material can help contain some of the
noise generated from the flow of material. The walls of the hopper also vibrate when material
strikes them. This vibration can be reduced by applying or fastening a vibration damping
material to the walls. The material is designed to strengthen the walls and reduce the resonance.

4.13.3 Alternative Technology


There is no alternative technology.

Page 81 of 89

4.14 Mills
Regardless of the type of mill (rod, ball, roller, hammer, etc.), their function is to reduce the size of the
material that passes through them. This function is accomplished by impacting the material with metal,
thereby creating a noise source in a shell.

4.14.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


The following is a partial listing of OEMs that have mills used in the mining industry.

A. Humboldt Wedag, Inc.


B. F. L. Smidth, Inc.
C. Telsmith, Inc.
Information from the manufacturers indicates that there is no noise controls incorporated into the design
of this type of equipment.

4.14.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


The construction of an acoustically-treated operator control room or booth in conjunction with remotecontrolled video cameras should minimize the need for a miner to be near the mill(s).
In some situations, the construction of a full or topless enclosure around a free-standing mill(s) has been
demonstrated to be an effective method of reducing the overall sound levels for miners whose work station
is in the area adjacent to the mill(s). Absorptive acoustical material may be needed within or above such
enclosures.
Depending upon the type of milling, the utilization of rubber or synthetic liners can be very effective in
reducing the overall sound levels.
Page 82 of 89

The use of acoustical/thermal blankets is a technologically achievable engineering noise control.


Retrofit noise control kits may be available from manufacturers listed in the following list. Consultation
with the manufacturers regarding specific applications is highly recommended in determining feasibility.

A. Acoustical Systems, Inc.


B. BRD Noise & Vibration Control, Inc.
If a retrofit kit is unavailable for the aforementioned noise controls, the materials may be purchased in
bulk using Appendix B as a reference.

4.14.3 Alternative Technology


There is no alternative technology.

4.15 Motors
Motors are used throughout preparation plants to drive machinery, pumps, fans, shaker screens, crushers,
conveyor belts, etc.

4.15.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


The following is a listing of the OEMs for motors. Dealers and rebuild shops should be contacted for
specific needs and details.

A. Baldor Electric Company


B. General Electric
Information from the manufacturers indicates that there is no noise controls incorporated into the new
equipment of this type. The majority of noise associated with motors is produced by the high-speed,
revolving internal parts and the cooling fan blades. One-directional cooling fan blades can be installed for
noise control on motors. They are quieter than the unidirectional ones.
Page 83 of 89

4.15.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


This section is for motors without noise controls. The effectiveness of noise controls is dependent upon
the quality of both the acoustic materials and the installation techniques.
If a retrofit kit is unavailable, acoustical materials may be purchased in bulk using Appendix B as a
reference.

A. Acoustical Enclosure around the Equipment


The enclosure can be a pre-fabricated metal, lead-vinyl curtain, or clear vinyl-strip curtain. The
type of enclosure chosen will generally be determined by the equipments dimensions, maintenance
requirements, and the cost of the enclosure.

B. Acoustical Enclosure for Operators in the Area


Pre-fabricated operator enclosures can be purchased with acoustical windows/doors, heating, airconditioning, lighting, and communications already designed into the enclosure. An alternative to
purchasing would be to construct an enclosure using common building supplies.

4.15.3 Alternative Technology


There is no alternative technology.

4.16 Pumps
Pumps are utilized to either push or pull liquids through a tube or pipe. They can be used to power automatic
lubricating systems, provide water over shaker screens, reduce the level of water in sumps, and move
slurries through centrifugal dewaterers.

4.16.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


The following is a listing of OEMs for pumps used in the mining environment. Dealers should be
contacted for specific needs and details.

Page 84 of 89

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.

F.L. Smidth, Inc.


F.L. Smidth Salt Lake City, Inc.
GIW Industries
Goodwin International
ITT Goulds Pumps F. Robbins & Myers, Inc.
G. Versa-Matic Pump

Information from the manufacturers indicates that noise controls have not been incorporated into
equipment of this type since the equipment is designed to move either a fluid or slurry. Many of the
companies are precisely balancing the internal moving parts to reduce vibration. The pumps are powered
by electric motors, hydraulic fluid, or compressed air. These power sources and/or pumps can sometimes
be located inside buildings or enclosures to help reduce the overall noise. This is dependent upon the size
and location of the equipment.

4.16.2 Retrofit Noise Controls


This section is for pumps that are without noise controls or are not located inside an enclosure. The
effectiveness of noise controls is dependent upon the quality of both the acoustic materials and the
installation techniques.

A. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.


B. Metso Minerals Industries, Inc.
C. Weir Minerals Linatex
If a retrofit kit is unavailable, the materials may be purchased in bulk using Appendix B as a reference.
The majority of noise associated with pumps is produced by the motors/engines needed to operate the
pumps and the high-speed, revolving internal parts.

A. Acoustical Enclosure around the Equipment


The enclosure can consist of a prefabricated metal enclosure or a site-built enclosure using common
building materials or dense loaded, vinyl-hanging curtain type arrangement. The type of enclosure
will generally be determined by the equipments dimensions, location, maintenance requirements,
and the cost of the enclosure. Another consideration would be if the enclosure will be permanent
or temporary.

B. Acoustical Enclosure for Operators in the Area


Pre-fabricated operator enclosures can be purchased with acoustical windows/doors, heating, air
conditioning, lighting, and communications already designed into the enclosure. An alternative to
purchasing would be to construct an enclosure using common building supplies.

4.16.3 Alternative Technology


There is no alternative technology.
Page 85 of 89

4.17 Screens Classifying


Classifying screens are used both in preparation plants and outdoor facilities. They come in a number of
configurations, i.e. single, double, or triple decks, wet, dry, or heated. Their basic function is to size the
material that passes over them. This is accomplished by the size of the openings in the screen decking.

4.17.1 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)


The following list illustrates the OEMs that have noise controls available for screens (classifying).
Dealers should be contacted for specific needs and details.

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.

C.U.E., Inc.
Derrick Corporation
Firestone Industrial Products Company
Goodman-Hewitt
Metso Minerals Industries, Inc.
Polydeck Screen Corporation
Tema Systems, Inc.
Weir Minerals Linatex

Information from the manufacturers indicates that there is some noise controls incorporated into new
equipment of this type. For classifying screens without noise controls, additional retrofit noise controls
are needed.

4.17.2 Retrofit Noise Controls (Screens with built-in noise controls)


A. Acoustically Treated Decking
Screening equipment (total unit comprised of frame, motors, and decking) is generally ordered
for specific customers needs; however, the decking is usually purchased from a manufacturer
separate from the one building the screen equipment. If the purchaser requests acoustical decking
and supplies, it will be installed on the new equipment according to the specifications provided.
This decking can be either rubber-clad, covered with a polyurethane material, or a combination of
both.

B. Pre-Specified Buyer Noise Controls


Page 86 of 89

Screening equipment manufacturers will attempt to incorporate any noise controls into the new
equipment that the purchaser specifies at the time of the order.

4.17.3 Retrofit Noise Controls (Screens without noise controls)


This section is for classifying screens without noise controls. The effectiveness of noise controls is
dependent upon the quality of both the acoustic materials and installation techniques.
If a retrofit kit is unavailable, acoustical materials may be purchased in bulk using Appendix B as a
reference.
The majority of noise associated with classifying screens is produced by the vibration of the screen/frame
and the material being transported over the screen.

A. Install New Decking Material


Replace the screen decking with newer polyurethane-based decking, if possible. This would also
include non-metallic or dampened steel side plates where material would also impact.

B. Install New Suspension Springs


Install new suspension springs to the deck framing so that vibration is contained to the unit
and isolated from other structures. These can be in the form of rubber, coil spring, or air bag
suspension, where applicable.

C. Acoustical Enclosure for Operators in the Area


Operator enclosures can be purchased prefabricated with acoustical windows/doors, heating, air
conditioning, lighting, and communications already designed into the enclosure. An alternative to
purchasing would be to construct an enclosure using common building supplies.

D. Acoustical Enclosure around the Equipment


The enclosure can be a prefabricated metal, lead-vinyl curtain, or clear vinyl-strip curtain type.
The type of enclosure chosen will generally be determined by the equipments dimensions,
maintenance requirements, and cost of the enclosure.

E. Acoustical Enclosure around Drive Mechanisms


Fabricate small acoustical enclosures around drive mechanisms to isolate and control this noise.

4.17.4 Alternative Technology


There is no alternative technology.

Page 87 of 89

5 References
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& Env. Medicine 46 (12), 1272, Dec. 2004.
2. U.S. Dept. Of La Bor, Noise Control A Guide for Workers and Employers, Occup. Safety & Health
Administration, p119.
3. Sensogut, C., Cina R, I. An Empirical Model for the Noise Propagation in Open Cast Mines A Case
Study, Applied Acoustics, 68, 1026, 2007.
4. CHEN, J.D., TSAI, J.Y. Hearing Loss among Workers at an Oil Refinery in Taiwan. Archives of
Environmental Health, ISSN 003-996, 58, (1), 55, 2003.
5. Poltev M. K. Occupational Health and Safety in Mining Industries. Mir Publishers, Moscow, 5, 117,
1985.
6. Al Joe W. W., Bobick T. G., Redmond, G. W., Bartholomae R.C. The Bureau of Mines Noise Control
Research Program, a 10-Year Review, Bureau of Mines Information Circular, IC9004, 1985.
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ISBN 92-2-112475-4, 2001.
8. Shier ET. Al . Holes human anatomy and physiology, 7th edition, TM Higher Education Group, Inc.,
1996.
9. Sensogut C. Industrial Noise in Mines and Labour Health. [In Turkish] Symp. on Labour Health in
Mining Industry, Karaelmas University, Zonguldak, pp. 73-77, 1998.
10. Unver B. A study on the effects of noise experienced during mining cctivities on the health of labour.
Conference on Safety in Mines and Environmental Protection, ISGUM, Ankara [In Turkish], pp. 8398, 1995.
11. Noise Control Regulations of Turkey, Official Gazette, 25325, 2003.
12. BANA CH J. D. Mine Safety & health administration announces new health standard. CAOHC
update, pp. 2-3, Spring 2000.
13. G Rella G., Patrucco, M. Environmental noise from a new surface mining project. Proceedings
SWEMP96, Edited by R. Ciccu, Cagliari, pp. 1089-1096, 1996.
14. TS 2606. Acoustic, the Evaluation of Noise from the Point of Social Life, Turkish Standard, March
Issue, pp. 1-6, 1977.
15. TS 2711. General Principles for Sound Level Meters, Turkish Standard, April Issue, pp. 1-10, 1977.
16. TS 2604. Sensitive Sonometers, Turkish Standard, March Issue, pp. 7-10, 1977.
17. Cina R, I. Noise Monitoring, Modelling and Mapping in Mining, PhD Thesis, Graduate School of
Pure and Applied Sciences, Selcuk University, Konya, pp. 141, 2005.
18. Fausti, S., Wilming Ton, D., Helt, W., Konradmartin, D. Hearing Health and Care: The Need for
Improvised Hearing Loss Prevention and Hearing Conservation Practices. Journal of Rehabilitation
Research & Development, 42(4), 45, 2005.
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19. Bridges M et al, 1998, Noise reduction in coal handling and preparation plants, Proceedings of the
XIII International Coal Preparation Congress, Partridge AC and Partridge IR (Eds), Paper D4.
20. Commission of Enquiry, Environment & Planning, 1994, Establishment and Operation Bengalla Open
Cut Coal Mine Muswellbrook.
21. Envirosciences Pty Limited, 1993, Environmental Impact Statement for Bengalla Coal Mine.

Page 89 of 89