Already on board for the project are producers Consol Energy, Eastern Associates and Peabody Energy, and OEMs DBT America and Joy Mining Machinery.
The project will first define a methodology for measuring noise effectively, second conduct measurements on a longwall to rank noise sources, and last develop a potential list of engineering controls.
If all goes well, NIOSH will look at implementing controls in partnership with manufacturers.
The longwall test sites are yet to be selected but NIOSH hearing loss prevention branch chief Rudy Matetic said two mines in south-west Pennsylvania and one mine in either New Mexico or Colorado would become the cooperative sites.
The project is a high priority for NIOSH, with noise induced hearing loss one of the 10 leading work-related diseases and injuries in the United States.
NIOSH studies have found nearly 50% of the full-shift dose measurements of longwall face workers exceeded the MSHA-PEL (Permissible Exposure Level) of more than 90dB on average over eight hours.