MSHA final rules address sampling devices, high-voltage machines

April 22, 2010

The Mine Safety and Health Administration recently published two final rules.

One rule revises requirements for approving sampling devices for monitoring miner exposure to respirable coal mine dust. The updated rule addresses design specifications for the sampler unit and sets criteria for a new monitor that, when worn by the miner, will report real-time dust exposure levels continuously during a shift.

The second rule changes the agency's electrical design requirements for high-voltage continuous mining machines and establishes safety standards related to the machine's installation, use and maintenance. Although the machines have been used in underground coal mines since the late 1990s, MSHA's current standards did not cover them, so mine operators had to submit a petition for modification before use, according to an MSHA press release.