Experts talking black lung, dust at KY conference

THE University of Kentucky Department of Mining Engineering and the Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center are planning a one-day seminar next month that will look at mine workers’ health and safety with a special focus on black lung disease.
Experts talking black lung, dust at KY conference Experts talking black lung, dust at KY conference Experts talking black lung, dust at KY conference Experts talking black lung, dust at KY conference Experts talking black lung, dust at KY conference


Donna Schmidt

The event, scheduled for August 22 at the Hilton Lexington Downtown, will include national presenters to discuss the areas of respiratory disease, health surveillance, industrial hygiene, and occupational safety and health.

Some specific topics to be addressed include the science indicating the risk for respiratory diseases among coal miners, available state-of-the-art tools and techniques for measuring coal dust, the status for exposure limits and the need for periodic health surveillance of coal workers.

“The event is timely and important,” the organizers said, noting regulatory standards required coal mine operators to continuously maintain the average concentration of respirable-dust exposure for mineworkers to no more than 2 milligrams per cubic metre.

In October 2010, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration published a proposed rule, “Lowering Miners’ Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors,” aimed at reducing miners' exposure to respirable coal mine dust by revising that standard.

The hosts said the proposals’ major provisions would lower the existing exposure limit, establish sampling requirements for the CPDM, require full-shift sampling converted to an eight-hour equivalent, require single-shift compliance sampling, redefine the term normal production shift, and require mine operators to sample the designated occupation during each production shift, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.

“Participants in this multi-faceted event will have the opportunity to discuss the history, context, and implications of the proposed rule from a full range of perspectives,” they said.

According to research studies by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the highest prevalence of black lung is among miners in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

While the disease, also known as pneumoconiosis, had been on the decline for about four decades, there has been a rise in cases and a significant trend of the condition in younger workers.

The seminar is being held in conjunction with the 74th annual meeting of the Kentucky Mining Institute.

CARERC is a NIOSH-funded research and education partnership of University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University.

The public is welcome, but registration is required.

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