Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Coal Dust Sampling Results Show Mines Are Complying With New Rule

According to MSHA, 99% of the more than 7,400 valid respirable dust samples collected during the first 2 months under the new respirable coal mine dust rule met compliance levels, despite mining industry concerns that it would have trouble meeting the requirements.

The new rule increases operator sampling for respirable coal mine dust and requires an operator to take immediate corrective action when an operator's sample shows excessive concentrations. The final rule authorizes the agency to cite an operator based on a single MSHA sample showing excessive dust, rather than on an average of samples.

"These samples were all generated under the new, more rigid standard that requires them to be taken when mines are operating at 80% production or more," says MSHA Administrator Joseph Main. "And the results clearly show that mine operators are able to comply with the rule. That's good news for the health of all coal miners and our efforts to end black lung disease."

The agency has conducted extensive outreach, education and training on the rule, met with the mining community, and posted frequently asked questions on its website to help mine operators comply with the rule. Beginning today, MSHA is also collaborating with NIOSH to host a series of best practices workshops on controlling respirable dust in coal mines.