Coal Respiratory conditions Worker health and wellness Workplace exposures

Compliance with coal-dust rule ‘highly achievable,’ MSHA says

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Arlington, VA – Coal mine dust samples taken after the Mine Safety and Health Administration implemented a rule to prevent deadly diseases known as “black lung” suggest that compliance is “highly achievable,” the agency announced April 23 during a hearing of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee.

The rule, which went into effect Aug. 1, intends to lower miners’ exposure to respirable dust in underground and surface coal mines. Of the 10,596 samples taken from surface mines from Aug. 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015, 99.7 percent were compliant, according to an MSHA press release. Of the 30,725 samples from underground mines, 98.6 percent were compliant.

MSHA’s rule aims to decrease the concentration of dust that miners breathe, help sampling practices more accurately take into account working conditions, employ technology to gather information about dust levels, and aid miners and operators in determining issues and adjusting, the press release states.