Audible Warning Signals in Underground Coal Mines


Stimulated by the hearing protection clauses in the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Law, attempts were made to determine what safety hazards, in terms of warning signal discrimination, are attendant upon the wearing of hearing protectors. Warning signals of dangerous roof conditions were collected and analyzed from 11 different coal mines in four different coal seams. Primarily, signals of audible level emanating from roof, floor, or coal were recorded. The interpretations of these signals were seen to be very dependent upon coincident visual and tactile signals. Acoustic character of such signals is shown to be dependent upon the spectral energy distributions of the pulses. Roof talk signals generally have broad-band spectra concentrated below 5 kHz. Reverberation times of acoustic pulses are generally less than 0. 5 sec in duration. Indications have developed which link the coal mine entry dimensions with tha nature of noises recorded there. Related experiments suggest that roof talk can be discriminated from background noise equally well when wearing protection as when not. This conclusion is only appropriate when noise levels warrant the wearing of protection. When quiet, the wearing of protection somewhat reduces discriminatory ability.


Mining Engineering

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Article - Journal

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© 1975 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 1975

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