Workplace exposures Coal

MSHA: Coal dust samples show mines are complying with rule

Miner --- Oct2013

Arlington, VA – Recent results of coal dust samples indicate that mines are complying with a final rule intended to decrease miner exposure to harmful coal dust, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

MSHA collected 7,456 valid samples of respirable dust during the first two months following the rule’s Aug. 1 effective date. Of those, about 99 percent were compliant, the agency announced on Oct. 20. Nearly 0.5 percent of the 4,255 samples exceeded compliance levels, and 1.3 percent of the 3,201 samples submitted by mine operators exceeded compliance levels.

The rule will be phased in during three stages over two years. It states that compliance will be based on a full-shift sample by MSHA rather than an average of samples, and that immediate corrective action is required when a full-shift sample shows an excessive level of dust.

MSHA, in partnership with NIOSH, is scheduled to host workshops about best practices for controlling respirable coal dust.