The US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has begun implementing provisions of the third – and final – phase of the landmark rule.
This comes exactly two years after the rule aimed at preventing black lung disease took effect.
The overall respirable dust standard in coal mines is now reduced from 2.0 to 1.5 milligrams/m3 of air. The rule also reduces the standard for miners diagnosed with black lung, and for air used to ventilate areas where miners work, from 1.0 to 0.5 milligrams/m3 of air.
In July 2016, MSHA announced approximately 99% of the respirable coal mine dust samples collected from 1 April 2016 through 30 June 2016 complied with coal mine dust standards. Using the new, cutting-edge continuous personal dust monitor that provides miners with dust results in real time during the working shift, agency personnel have analysed more than 20 000 underground coal mine operator samples.
“Black lung has claimed tens of thousands of lives,” said Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of MSHA. “The positive sampling results are due to the extraordinary efforts of MSHA and industry working to clean up the air that miners breathe and successfully implement the respirable dust rule.”
“The nation’s coal miners are better protected from debilitating and deadly disease than ever before, but we still have much more work to do to prevent black lung. Miners deserve to work their shift each day and return home healthy and safe,” he added.
Since the final rule went into effect on 1 August 2014, MSHA and mine operators have collected more than 122 000 respirable dust samples and more than 99% of those samples met compliance levels.
On 25 January 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied a challenge to the dust rule brought by two separate groups representing the coal industry. The court found that MSHA acted within its statutory authority in promulgating the dust rule, and that MSHA’s dust rule reflected reasonable agency decision making based on an expansive rulemaking record.
Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/08082016/respirable-coal-mine-dust-rule-enters-final-phase-of-implementation-2174/