MSHA Extends Comment Period for Coal Mine Dust Rules

MSHA has extended the\r\npublic comment period for two proposed rules dealing with dust\r\nsampling in underground coal mines by two weeks -- until Sept. 8.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has extended the public comment period for two proposed rules dealing with dust sampling in underground coal mines by two weeks -- until Sept. 8.

The original deadline for comment was Aug. 24.

According to the Federal Register notice, the extension is in response to requests from the mining community for additional time to review the proposals and submit comment.

In the first comprehensive change in 30 years, MSHA is proposing to take over all sampling in underground coal mines to check for compliance with dust limits set to prevent lung disease.

At the time the proposed rules were released, MSHA explained that there are two proposals because the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act requires the secretaries of Health and Human Services and Labor to make a joint finding of what kind of dust samples to use.

One of the proposed rules covers the type of sample that will be required, and the other specifically concerns coal dust sampling, compliance and controls.

Under the joint HHS/MSHA proposed rule, a single full-shift sample would replace the multiple sampling technique that is now in use.

Under the proposed rule governing dust control plans and compliance sampling, MSHA would verify the effectiveness of mine ventilation plans.

The agency also would collect full-shift respirable dust samples, called "verification samples," to ensure that the concentration of respirable coal mine dust is at or below 2 milligrams per cubic liter for quartz dust.

Dust samples previously had been collected by mine operators.

Comments on the proposed rule can be submitted to MSHA by electronic mail at [email protected]

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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