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Research Article Open Access
Background: By increasing the depth and extent of the underground mines, coal miners are at risk of developing lung diseases especially pneumoconiosis because of their regular exposure to airborne dusts and toxic gases. Mechanization results in accelerative production of higher dust levels and worst working conditions.
Aim of the study: Annual statistics show that most of the underground coal miners in Iran, with experience more than five years, are suffering from lung diseases. Due to that, this research was conducted in order to investigate the risk of exposure to coal dust at Kerman coalfield, Iran.
Participants and methods: A cross sectional study was carried out over 556 coal miners from three coal mines. Among them 460 persons directly worked at the coalface for at least five years. Spirometry tests were also done in order to determine the parameters of FEV1, FEV1/FVC and . Z-test with overall error set at 0.01 was used for comparison of the results.
Results: Differences between the results of the spirometry measurements for face and non-face miners were meaningful indicating the more vulnerability of the face miners to the disease. In addition, the results showed a nonlinear decline in FEV1 over the first five years of employment, with a sharp decrease in the first two years. According to the results, the face miners are more prone to respiratory diseases, however all miners are at risk.
Conclusion: Direct measurements showed that the dust levels in the coalfaces are high and exceed the recommended exposure limit of 1mg/m . Remedial and precautionary measures were found to be the most appropriate solution to mitigate the development of such tormented diseases. Therefore, a framework composed of the three major levels: precautionary measures, medical surveillance and remedial management was proposed by focus on the precautionary measures as the best solutions.
Coal workersâ pneumoconiosis, Dust control, Precautionary measures, Respiratory diseases, Silicosis, Underground coal mining, Occupational Disorders, Occupational Exposures