Coal Mine Dust Sampling Rule Reduces Lung Risks

Coal mine dust sampling is the target of new reform from the MSHACoal mine dust sampling  was the target in 2014, when the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration issued a new rule which featured comprehensive reform to the mining industry’s protocol. Among those requirements included in the new  rule were increases in the frequency with which mining businesses sampled their mine air and the incorporation of new mine dust sampling equipment. All of these changes were legislated in the form of this new rule in an effort to reduce instances of dust mine-related illnesses, such as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, emphysema, and progressive massive fibrosis.

The rule is outlined and implemented in different phases, the third of which is to be enacted on Aug. 1st, 2016. The coal mine dust sampling protocols consists of a three-tiered system whose overarching function is to lower the current respirable dust level to a final level of 1.5 mg per cubic meter of air. Inspection of respirable coal mine dust samples from phases I and II has yielded results that show approximately 99 percent of samples collected are in compliance with the new coal mine dust sampling standards. The most recent sampling processed more than 20,000 underground coal mine operator samples and incorporated real-time data from the Continuous Personal Dust Monitor, a newly implemented technology that provides miners with dynamic monitoring throughout their respective working shifts.

According to Joseph A. Main, MSHA assistant secretary of labor, “These positive results are due to the extraordinary efforts of MSHA and industry working to clean up the air that miners breathe and successfully implement the critical respirable dust rule to protect miners from a disease that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. 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.”

The progressive legislation, intended to combat such debilitating and potentially fatal diseases as black lung disease, is at the forefront of much-needed reform in the mining industry.  With regard to coal mine dust sampling, it represents an internal effort to improve mining safety regulations. To read more about mining safety training and mining industry regulatory practice, please consult MSHA’s <website.. New Surface Miners obtain detailed information about this and other safety related information in their 8 Hour New Surface Miner package available.

MSHA Requirements Proposal Improves Safety

MSHA Requirements Proposal to Enhance Safety and TransparencyOn June 7th, 2016, stakeholders met at the United States Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration headquarters in Arlington, VA to discuss, among other items, reform in workplace regulations for metal and non-metal mining. The new MSHA Requirements proposal is paramount to improving safety and transparency in the workplace.  They Include:

  • Making all workplace examinations readily available to miners
  • Pre-work exams
  • Detailed and signed exam notes, to be made on a daily basis, by mining operators
  • Prompt notice to all miners assigned to work areas which may be considered adverse

While this top-down proposition for reform in the  MSHA requirements  proposal does affect a more dynamic system of notice and coverage for employees in the mining workplace, the larger question is exactly how do these changes affect day-to-day policy for miners and mining operators. Does the mandated pre-work exam and detailed daily report place a higher onus of liability on the mining operator? Do the daily examinations create a precedent for an employee-review system, based on citations?

MSHA representatives assert that, at the heart of this reform, is the goal of accident prevention, stating that, “Effective working place examinations are a fundamental accident prevention tool.” Of the 122 mining fatalities in the past five years, MSHA believes that “many of these fatalities could have been prevented with better working place examinations.” The correlation being made by MSHA between workplace accidents and an inadequate system of examination and review is the underpinning for reform that they hope will reduce otherwise avoidable injuries in the mining community.

MSHA have published a copy of their MSHA Re proposed rule and a summary sheet of the new MSHA requirements proposal.

Once the MSHA proposition is published to the Federal Register, a 90-day comment period will commence, wherein all members of the mining community can voice their concerns in any of four public hearings.

These recently proposed reforms will undoubtedly affect the mining workplace. One way to stay up-to-date with any new MSHA requirements or regulations is to take an approved MSHA training course and certification program. You can take your New Surface Miner Training or your MSHA Annual Renewal courses right here, online from the comfort of your home from one of the world’s most trusted organization.