MSHA Moves On New Rules to Prevent Black Lung Disease

March 10, 2003
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) wants to assume responsibility for all underground compliance dust sampling. Currently, mine operators are responsible for taking the dust samples.

The agency is planning to re-propose standards to require verification of coal mine operator dust control plans and will re-open its rulemaking record on the method used to determine respirable coal mine dust concentrations.

"With these two actions, we are moving on towards more effective prevention of black lung disease," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Our goal is to send every miner home safe and healthy at the end of every working day."

While eliminating the requirement for compliance sampling by underground coal mine operators, the proposal calls for mine operators to collect samples to verify the adequacy of dust control measures specified in their mine ventilation plans. The new proposed rule reflects public comments on an earlier version of the proposal.

At the same time the record is being reopened on a previous proposal to revise the way MSHA determines compliance with respirable coal mine dust standards. MSHA and the Department of Health and Human Services jointly developed a proposed rule stating the average concentration of respirable dust to which an individual working miner is exposed can be accurately measured over a single shift. The proposed rule would update a 32-year-old finding that called for averaging samples taken over multiple shifts.

MSHA is asking for comments and expects to hold public hearings on both issues.

"These rulemaking actions are part of our comprehensive program to improve safety and health performance in the mining industry," Lauriski said. "We are using all the tools provided by law - enforcement, education and training, and technical assistance - to reinforce safety and health as values throughout the Nation's mining industry."

A single-source Web page with information about the "Determination of Concentration of Respirable Coal Mine Dust (Single Sample)" and "Ventilation Plans, Tests and Examinations in Underground Coal Mines" proposed rules can be found at www.msha.gov/planverification/planverification.htm.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!