In 1998 the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health along with four other world health organisations classified diesel exhaust as an occupation carcinogen and stated that reductions in workplace exposure are required to reduce the risk of cancer. Non-cancerous health effects have also been associated with diesel exhaust exposure, including immunologic, respiratory and cardiovascular effects.
This thesis reviews the sampling methods and techniques available to monitor the concentrations of diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions, current world emission regulations and the applicable technology available to control such emissions at North Goonyella Coal.
North Goonyella has adopted the United States Mine Safety and Health Administration exposure standard for diesel particulate matter for underground mining operations. These limits are in terms of total carbon determined by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health method 5040. The ultimate limit is 0.16 mg/m3 (as of January 2006), however an interim limit of 0.4 mg/m3 currently exists.
Size selective sampling methods including both personal and static collection techniques, showed that the zone of greatest risk was the development heading. The role with the greatest routine exposures was Eimco operating. Greater than 35% of collected samples returned DPM concentrations greater than the 2006 limit, hence North Goonyella must implement some form of risk reduction measure. Particular attention must be paid to reducing emissions from the larger 936 Eimco fleet utilised during longwall relocation. During relocation period’s DPM concentrations reached 10 times the 0.16 mg/m3 limit.
It is important for all Australian underground coal mines to seek ways of improving diesel particulate emissions. As the use of diesel machinery increases, the need for control measures will increase. By careful documentation of the processes and outcomes of all studies relating to the Australian diesel particulate matter environment, the Australian mining industry and the health of the respective miners will benefit indefinitely.