Coal Worker's Pneumoconiosis (CWP) is one of the most important occupational health problems in Turkish coal mining. Despite the decrease in employment and production at Turkish Hardcoal Enterprise (TTK) in the Zonguldak Basin, the occurrence of pneumoconiosis is still very high, particularly among the face workers. This study aims to evaluate the dust concentrations and quartz contents of respirable dusts in coal faces and pneumoconiosis risks related to face workers in TTK collieries. The mean respirable dust exposure experienced by the face workers was evaluated and compared with the occupational exposure limits. The data on the dust samples exhibit great variations. The quartz contents of respirable dusts were determined by a FIR spectrophotometer. The mean respirable dust concentration in the coal faces varies from 1.6 to 14.5 mg/m(3) while the quartz content varies from 0.7 to 10.4%. The mean respirable dust concentrations in the coal faces in Karadon, Amasra, Armutcuk and Kozlu collieries are above the TLV (5 mg/m(3)) of Turkey and the percentage of the measurements exceeding the TLV in the coal faces range from 25% to 100. An analysis of variance was performed to investigate the effects of workplace and seam characteristics on respirable dust levels. According to the results of variance analysis (ANOVA), it was seen that there are significant differences between seams and collieries in terms of dust concentration and quartz contents of respirable dust.
CWP is still the most important problem in the collieries of TTK. The occurrence of CWP is higher among underground face workers. There have been 200 CWP cases in the last decade with a prevalence rate of 6.3%. CWP rates in the coal faces of the collieries increase as the respirable dust levels and quartz contents increase in general. This finding indicates that the TLV (5 mg/m(3)) of Turkey should be re-evaluated and additional safety precautions should be taken in the workplaces where high quartz contents of respirable dust exist. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.