The Prediction Of Underground Drilling Noise

Harper, G. S.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2006
Noise in general and drilling noise in particular have received increasing attention within the South African mining industry during the last 10?15 years. The Mine Health and Safety Committee1, during their 2003 annual summit, established two significant milestones to be met by December 2008 and December 2013. The 2008 milestone target is that of no more than ten per cent deterioration in hearing among occupationally exposed individuals, whereas the 2013 milestone target is that of less than 110 dB sound pressure levels at any place in the workplace. While these targets relate to general noise within the mining industry, it is widely believed that the most significant source of noise contributing to noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) among the underground workforce, is that of pneumatic rock drills. Data pertaining to the noise emission level of any machine is generally reported as either a sound pressure level or a sound power level of a single machine measured under free field conditions as defined in Appendix 3 of SABS-ISO 37442. However, rock drills are seldom used in isolation and underground conditions cannot be considered as free field. A methodology for the selection of rock drills on the basis of total operating cost has been developed. However, this paper focuses on the noise elements of the generic methodology and provides a model for the prediction of the composite sound pressure level and the equivalent noise exposure levels of groups of individuals from machines, used singly and in combination in an underground environment based on the sound pressure level determined according to SABS-ISO 3744 under free field conditions. The methodology includes provision for the consideration of the effect of hearing protection devices and the use of multiple machines in combination and provides an indication of the potential costs of hearing compensation.
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