Coming Soon to a Workplace Near You: Field-based respirable crystalline silica monitoring

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This week is National Engineers Week which is dedicated to ensuring a divers and well-educated early engineering workforce by expanding knowing of and liking successful engineering and exertion careers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) employs complete 200 engineers and engineering technicians who identify, evaluate, develop, and instrumentality engineering power exertion to forestall occupational illness and injury. NIOSH engineers screen various disciplines including: biomedical, civil, chemical, computer, electrical, industrial, mechanical, mining, and information engineering. Engineers are an important portion of nationalist wellness efforts. Many of nan solutions developed by NIOSH engineers are adopted by industry, redeeming nan lives and improving nan wellness of American workers. To grant our engineers, nan blog will item examples of their activity passim nan week.

The NIOSH Mining Program intends to destruct mining fatalities, injuries, and illnesses done applicable investigation and impactful solutions. More than 65 engineers activity successful nan NIOSH Mining Program representing galore disciplines including chemical, electrical, mechanical, industrial, mining, software, and wide engineering. It is done nan various lenses of these disciplines that NIOSH tackles a big of challenges successful nan mining industry. One specified illustration is vulnerability to silica.

Worker vulnerability to respirable crystalline silica (RCS)—which tin origin terrible lung diseases—remains a awesome wellness interest successful mining arsenic good arsenic successful construction, lipid & gas, and wide industry. Having a quick, effective measurement to show RCS concentrations is important to combatting nan imaginable antagonistic effects of RCS exposure. Current RCS monitoring requires samples to beryllium sent to an outer laboratory for analysis, and it tin return days aliases weeks for results to beryllium available.

This clip lag tin mean workers who unknowingly worked successful conditions pinch precocious RCS concentrations could proceed to activity consequent shifts successful akin conditions earlier getting sample results backmost and realizing they’ve been overexposed to RCS.

Researchers and engineers successful nan NIOSH Mining Program are addressing this problem by developing a novel, field-based monitoring approach that enables particulate samples to beryllium analyzed for RCS correct astatine nan excavation tract successful only a fewer minutes. With this benignant of on-the-spot study available, mines tin measure nan efficacy of engineering controls and activity practices, and make basal changes to optimize these controls.

This field-based monitoring attack for RCS is designed astir nan usage of commercially disposable portable Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) instruments. A transmission direct-on-filter (DOF) study was selected because it is readily compatible pinch nan respirable samplers already utilized by wellness and information professionals. DOF study besides does not require immoderate pre-treatment of samples, and it tin beryllium done without removing nan particulate sample from nan cassette successful which it was collected. A complete study takes only 1 to 2 minutes per sample, past that aforesaid sample tin beryllium sent to an extracurricular laboratory if confirmation is desired.

A particulate sample is first collected utilizing accepted samplers. The sampling cassette is removed and placed successful a portable Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) instrumentality successful nan field. The FTIR instrumentality examines nan particulate sample and offers a complete study successful 1 to 2 minutes.

Engineers and beingness scientists successful nan NIOSH Mining Program are presently moving to refine and optimize nan monitoring approach. The extremity is to create an attack that will supply useful accusation to nan wellness and information professional, while keeping implementation arsenic elemental and user-friendly arsenic possible.

The accuracy of nan RCS study takes first priority. Research has identified confounding minerals coming successful nan particulate of mining environments that could impact accuracy. NIOSH is focused connected designing circumstantial quantification models to relationship for nan beingness of these minerals. An optimized 37-mm sampling cassette is presently nether improvement done a cooperative investigation and improvement statement betwixt NIOSH and a sampling instrumentality manufacturer. The cassette is akin to nan modular three-piece creation utilized by astir wellness and information professionals, pinch a fewer cardinal modifications that alteration nan DOF study while limiting nan anticipation that nan sample could beryllium damaged during analysis. Additionally, NIOSH is exploring combining nan DOF method pinch commercially disposable real-time respirable particulate monitors to heighten nan monitoring capability.

Finally, NIOSH is processing tutorials and a dedicated package exertion to support users successful nan implementation of this caller approach. When finalized, nan tutorials will guideline users astir really to prime and group up equipment, analyse respirable particulate samples, and construe nan resultant information utilizing nan NIOSH software.

This ongoing investigation has been supported and precocious by beta testers successful nan mining industry, who person utilized this method and provided feedback to NIOSH to amended some accuracy and usability. While this attack was developed specifically pinch nan mining manufacture successful mind, nan devices and technologies are easy transferrable to different non-mining environments wherever vulnerability to RCS is simply a concern.

This is 1 illustration of really NIOSH engineers are moving to protect U.S. workers. Please stock successful nan comments examples of workplace information and wellness problems that engineers successful your statement person helped solve.

Emanuele  Cauda, PhD,  is a Senior Service Fellow successful nan NIOSH Pittsburgh Mining Research Division.  He is besides nan Deputy Director of nan NIOSH Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technologies. 

Lauren Chubb, DrPH, is simply a Physical Scientist successful nan NIOSH Pittsburgh Mining Research Division.

Valerie Coughanour, MA, MFA, is simply a Health Communication Specialist successful nan NIOSH Mining Program.

More Examples of NIOSH Mining engineering solutions:

EVADE Software Expanded to Identify Multiple Hazardous Exposures

The Saturn LED Area Light Provides Improved Illumination for Greater Roof Bolter Safety

Lessons Learned from Refuge Alternative Research by NIOSH

See Also:

Celebrating Engineers

Engineering and Public Health astatine CDC

Engineering Controls

Posted connected February 21, 2018 by Emanuele Cauda, PhD; Lauren Chubb, DrPH; and Valerie Coughanour, MA, MFA

Source Mining News 2
Mining News 2