Exposure to respirable dust is an issue for a number of industries. Mines, foundries and metal fabricators are just a few that are concerned with employee lung health. The mining industry in particular has been fighting silicosis, a lung disease that can be disabling and sometimes fatal.
There is a new tool available for that can help to identify specific work tasks which cause high respirable dust exposure. NIOSH has developed a software program that combines video from a lightweight helmet camera with data collected with personal aerosol monitors. As an employee goes through their day, video is recorded while the aerosol monitor takes instantaneous dust concentration readings every two seconds. At the end of a set amount of time, this data is uploaded into a computer and integrated with a software program called EVADE.
EVADE (Enhanced Video Analysis of Dust Exposure) provides a single, integrated display recorded video above a graph, depicting an employees’s dust concentrations as measured by the aerosol monitor in real time. This becomes a powerful tool for identifying specific work activities and areas of high exposure.
Reviews have been positive thus far. Customers have reported identifying unique causes of peaked exposure using video overlay. Some unique examples were sweeping, moving too fast through tasks and even cloth break room chairs that released “poofs” of dust when people sat on them.
All of the hardware associated with the helmet camera and personal aerosol monitors are commercially available. The EVADE software will soon be available for free from the NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR). A detailed instruction manual on using the EVADE software is also on its way, including a discussion of sampling equipment and sampling procedures when performing personal aerosol monitoring for mine workers. For more information you can email OMSHR@cdc.gov.
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