The control or mitigation of equipment noise is paramount for worker protection in mines. If a computerized system was developed that accurately predicted noise emission during equipment design and siting, the current need to build, site and then operate equipment to understand or control its noise emission would be eliminated. This project aims to develop such a computerized system. With success, it would improve timelines for developing and implementing worker protection devices and protocols; decrease substantially the amount of time and costs associated with noise emission measurements and control practices; provide greater worker safety in all industrial activities; and lead to the use of predictive noise analyses for equipment that is to be used in all industrial, residential and commercial buildings. The goals of the project are to: develop techniques and algorithms for predicting noise sound pressure from mining equipment during the design and siting process; and show the feasibility of a computerized system for predicting worker noise exposure from mining equipment noise emissions. These goals are attained through comprehensive noise emission tests and simulations that include cooperative research between Tribo Flow Separations and the University of Kentucky, and interactions with personnel and assessments of mining equipment at the Pittsburgh Office of Mine Safety and Health Research. The long-term objectives include: establishing the scientific basis for reliable boundary element method and sub-structured boundary element method simulations for determining noise transfer functions; refining the applicability of patch contribution analysis on scale models of equipment and on operating equipment; developing reliable specifications for computer algorithms useful for defining noise emission during equipment design and siting; and initiate interactions with a mining equipment manufacturer to prepare for demonstration and commercialization of the computerized system. With success in the research, it is expected that predictions of worker noise exposure before machinery is placed in operation will be possible, thereby enabling noise mitigation procedures and noise protection protocols to be put into effect before a machine is turned on. This computerized system will promote worker safety while decreasing the extent of worker injuries and illnesses caused by vibration and noise.
The research focuses on developing a computerized system which can predict noise levels from large machinery during design and planned siting within mining operations. With success, predictions could be made of worker noise exposure before machinery is placed in operation, thereby enabling noise mitigation procedures and noise protection protocols to be put into effect before a machine is turned on. This system will promote worker safety while decreasing the extent of worker injuries and illnesses caused by vibration and noise.