New “Mini-baghouse” Controls Dust Emissions at Fracking Sites
New NIOSH-designed technology called the “mini-baghouse” helps protect oil and gas extraction workers from exposure to silica dust at hydraulic fracturing (fracking) sites. According to the agency, the mini-baghouse was designed to control dust emissions from a major source of silica dust at these worksites: the thief hatches on top of sand movers. NIOSH researchers found that the new technology reduces the amount of airborne respirable crystalline silica around sand movers by 79 to 99 percent. During field-testing and evaluation, researchers also determined that the dust collected by the mini-baghouse contained extremely fine, highly respirable particles, 1 to 2 microns in diameter. Early in 2015, NIOSH tested the third-generation mini-baghouse, which features enhancements such as improved material and a dust-release coating. As of November, NIOSH was seeking additional industry partners to help advance the new technology and bring it to market. For more information, visit the NIOSH website.