Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Jeremy M. Slagley, PhD


The United States Air Force (USAF) has experienced a dramatic increase in hearing loss claims since 2001. Additionally, many operations within the USAF expose personnel to hazardous dust levels. Likewise, the US mining industry has difficulties controlling hazardous noise and dust exposures in underground mining. Specifically, studies have shown that coal mine longwall shearer operators are routinely exposed to noise levels at 151 percent of the allowable dose and approximately 20 percent exceed regulatory dust levels. An above ground full scale model of the underground shearing operation was developed to test the feasibility of mounting a permanent partial barrier on the longwall shearer. The barrier was constructed and tested at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (NIOSH-PRL) longwall test facility. The barrier achieved as high as a 7.3 dB(A) reduction in noise levels and a 96 percent reduction in respirable dust. Several predictive models were tested and compared to measured noise reduction results. A final spreadsheet was developed as a tool for base level Bioenvironmental Engineers to determine when a partial barrier may be an effective engineered solution for controlling hazardous noise or dust within USAF industrial operations.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number