Initiative focuses on exposure monitoring among miners

January 7, 2011

Arlington, VA – A Mine Safety and Health Administration initiative announced Dec. 16 aims to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants in metal and nonmetal mines.

The initiative includes stakeholder outreach, education and training, and enhanced implementation of existing standards, according to an MSHA press release.

"A number of diseases and illnesses can be caused by overexposure to harmful airborne contaminants, including lead poisoning, nervous system damage, lung cancer, asbestosis, lung inflammation and scarring, bronchitis and metal fume fever," Dr. Gregory Wagner, deputy assistant secretary for mine safety and health, said in an agency news release.

He noted exposure monitoring is critical to disease prevention, especially considering some conditions may not be apparent at time of exposure.

MSHA also issued a procedure instruction letter on complying with related standards.