MSHA: Newest respirable coal dust samples comply with standards


Arlington, VA – Virtually all respirable coal dust samples collected earlier this year complied with Mine Safety and Health Administration coal mine dust standards, the agency announced July 18.

Samples were taken from April 1 through June 30 during Phase II of MSHA’s final rule on limiting miners’ exposure to coal mine dust. The final rule requires more frequent sampling of mine air.

More than 20,000 samples from underground coal mine operations were analyzed with the Continuous Personal Dust Monitor, which collects results in real-time during a shift. About 99 percent of the samples were found to be in compliance, MSHA stated.

During Phase I, 87,000 dust samples were collected between August 2014 and January 2016. Almost 99 percent of those samples also were found to be in compliance.

“The nation’s coal miners are better protected from debilitating and deadly black lung disease than ever before, but we still have much more work to do to prevent black lung so that miners can spend a career as a miner and not fear the disease,” MSHA administrator Joseph A. Main said in a press release.

The third – and final – phase is set to begin Aug. 1, when the overall permissible respirable dust level will drop to 1.5 milligrams per cubic meter of air from 2.0.

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