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7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017

DOI: 10.7251/BMC170702135M



Miomir MIKIĆ1, Ivana JOVANOVIĆ1, Milenko LJUBOJEV1, Daniela UROŠEVIĆ1, Radmilo


Mining and metallurgy institute Bor, Bor, Serbia,;;;;


Application of modern technologies in the mining industry through energy efficiency, higher labour
productivity, adopting continuous production methods, operational flexibility, resulted the use of
machinery and equipment of high capacity. Parallel to this, the result was a significant increase in the
number of noise sources and noise levels in open pit and underground mining. The paper presents
noise sources, the impact of noise on labour and suggestions to reduce noise impact in the workplace.

Key words: noise, impact, mining.


Noise pollutionornoise disturbanceis the disturbing or excessive noise that may harm the
activity or balance of human or animal life. The source of most outdoor noise worldwide is
mainly caused bymachinesand transportation systems, motor vehicles, aircraft, andtrains.
Outdoor noise is summarized by the wordenvironmental noise. Poorurban planningmay give
rise to noise pollution, since side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in
noise pollution in the residential areas. Documented problems associated with urban noise go
back as far as Ancient Rome.
Outdoor noise can be caused by machines, construction activities, and music performances,
especially in some workplaces.Noise-induced hearing losscan be caused by outside (e.g.
trains) or inside (e.g. music) noise.
High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects in humans and an increased
incidence ofcoronary artery disease [1]. In animals, noise can increase the risk of death by
altering predator or prey detection and avoidance, interfere with reproduction and navigation,
and contribute to permanent hearing loss [2].

7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017


Works carried out in order to expand productivity in themining industry have pointed out the
necessity to utilizelarger machinery in parallel with improvements in technology.An increase
in mechanisation also has resulted in anincrease in noise levels, leading underground and
open pitmines and mineral processing plants to generate enormouslevels of noise.
Occupational noise in underground mineshas reached unbearable levels due to the reverberant
natureof the narrower spaces. Therefore, it is hard to find a relativelylow-noise environment
for workers. Although theequipment employed in open pits are comparatively largerin size
than the ones encountered underground, they maybe said to be less significant as the noise
emitted from themeasily spreads hemi-spherically in the free sound field.
In reality, the noise occurring during extraction works(i.e. drilling-blasting, excavation,
loading and transporting)that take place in both open and underground pits is noteworthywhen
considering labour health and job performanceas the highest disease and illness rates in
mining continue tobe mine worker’s permanent or temporary hearing loss [3].
Each machine, device or means of transportation has many elementary vibroacousticenergy
sources. The vibroacoustic energy source is understood as a mechanical oracoustic system
generating acoustic vibrations. Properties of such source can be assessedin two ways:
 considering the properties of an acoustic field generated by the source, whichprovide
the so-called external or field characteristics of the source,
 considering the properties of the source itself as the vibroacoustic energy emitter.
The collection of such properties constitutes the socalled internal characteristics ofthe source.
External characteristics of the source are used for assessment of an acoustic effectgenerated
by the source, while internal characteristics - for assessment of the sourceitself [4].
Noise sources can be classified from many points of view. The basic division consistsof:
theoretical models of radiation, physical reasons of noise generation and the noiseorigin. The
detailed description of vibroacoustic energy sources can be found in reference [5].
Classification of vibroacoustic energy sources occuring in open pit mines, performed when
taking into account two criteria: physical causesof noise generation and the noise origin,
represetedon Figure 1. The most representativesources were selected for the presentation on
Figure 1. The machines which emit most vibroacousticenergy: are mining machines,
especially: crushers, pneumatic hammers, drilling rigs,excavators, dumping conveyers and
belt conveyers. The most annoying sources of vibroacousticenergy are explosions at blasting
works, which are also the sources of shortlivednoises.

7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017

Figure 1. Classification of vibroacustic energy sources


Upon the receival of an acoustic signal, pressure changes occurring in the auditory canal
move the drum membrane (Figure 2). The bones called hammer, anvil and stirrup, which are
located behind the eardrum are connected in a chain between the tympanic membrane and the
round window of the cochlea. In the case of these bones being exposed to noise, they start to
Therefore, the sound energy caused by this vibration is converted into mechanical energy and
then into hydraulic energy in the cochlea. The motion in the cochlea will affect the small hair-
like cells in the cochlea depending on the electrical signal frequency. When a cell is
stimulated it sends an electrical signal to the brain. The loss of hearing in the inner ear, apart
from natural diseases, may be faced in the case of small hair-like cells becoming damaged or
weakened due to excessive noise levels for a long period[6]. Noise-induced hearing loss is
100% preventable but once acquired, hearing loss is permanent and unfortunately irreversible.

7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017

Miners have to put up with a variety of noise sources during their daily working environment.
Contrary to popular thought, hearing loss arising from instant high levels of noise rarely
happen; however, the main cause is prolonged levls of sound. The length of period during
which workers are exposed to excessive noise is rather important as it takes a foremost role in
distinguishing the type of hearing loss being either temporary or permanent. In Fig. 2, the
hearing loss percentage of underground colliery workers can be seen [10].
The parameters which are effective for hearing loss due to noise are exposure period, noise
level, age of workers and physical condition of workers (existence of other illness etc.). For
most effects of noise, there is no cure. However, prevention of excessive noise exposure is the
only way to avoid health damage.

Figure 2. Anatomical layout of ear [7].

The noise adversely acts on the central nervous system, and from there to other parts of the body,
organs and systems, in particular, in the sense of hearing, and the endocrine glands. According to the
harmfulness the noise is divided into three stages:
1. The first level of noise harmfulnes is intensity of 30-60 dB. It disturb intellectual work and
concentration. The occurrence of these noise levels at night, when a man needs to rest, then its
harmful effects is stronger, because it leads to insomnia, neurosis, nervous exhaustion and a
general weakening of the body.
2. The second level of noise harmfulnesis intensity of 60-85 dB. It occurs in the working
environment and industrial facilities. It acts adversely on the nervous system, and as a result
causes a disturbance of other organ systems, such as the heart, blood vessels, endocrine and
heard. The noise level of 85 dB at some people causes hypoxia of small hair-like cells in the
ear, leading to hearing loss. Other consequences are loss of balance, dizziness, stomach ulcers
and others.
3. The third level of noise harmfulnesexceed intensity limit of 85 dB. Upon the sudden and
unexpectedly occurrence, it leads to spasms of blood court proceedings increased blood
pressure. The noise of this level damages the central nervous system, heart, blood vessels,
sense of hearing, and other organs and systems, which has not yet been established correlation
between exposure and damage.

7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017



Noise survey sampling is necessary to determine anyoverexposure in order to effectively

eliminate or reducethem. Additionally, reduction of occupational noise inmines is an effective
factor to ensure adequate and productiveworking conditions. Thus, the measures
categorizedas administrative and engineering noise controls toremedy noisy environment in
mines are given below:

 supplying the workers being exposed to occupationalnoise exceeding 87 dBA with
earplugs, semi-insertplugs, muffs and helmets,
 reducing hours of work where excessive sound pressurelevels are experienced,
 task rotation of workers,
 training the workers about the use of personal protectorsand explaining their
 having the mine workers undergo periodic medical inspectionsto check hearing.

Engineering noise controls

 selecting the processes with lower sound pressure levels,
 locating the mine-related plants in noiseless places,
 enclosing the source of noise and preventing the noisefrom being transmitted,
 isolating the operators’ cab,
 moving the noisy machine to a little-used section of amine.
The effectiveness of hearing protection programsmay be hindered sometimes by poor
compliancein the use of hearing protection devices due to communicationdifficulties, comfort
issues, individuals’ attitudesabout protecting themselves from noise-induced hearingloss, and
individuals’ perceptions about how otherswho do not use hearing protection will view them if
theychoose to use hearing protection [18].Comprehensive programme of hearing
conservationin Serbian mines should be initiated toidentify those activities that carry most
risk and to minimizenoise exposure.


This work is the result of the Project TR33021 funded by the Ministry of Science and Technological
Development of the Republic of Serbia.


[1] Hoffmann, B., Moebus, S., Stang, A., Beck, E.M., Dragano, N., Möhlenkamp, S., Schmermund, A.,
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heartdisease. European Heart Journal. 27 (22): pp. 2696–2702.
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Decembar 2015.
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7th BALKANMINE CONGRESS – Proceedings, Prijedor 2017

[5] Engel Z. (2001). Ochrona srodowiska przed drganiami i halasem, PWN, Warszawa.
[6] International labour organization. (2001). Safety & health in small-scale surface mines – a handbook, pp.
[7] Anatomical layout of ear