MSHA returns home for final dust-rule hearing

THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration has come full circle, returning to its headquarters office in Arlington, Virginia for the final event in a seven-city series of public hearings regarding a proposed new federal rule for coal mine dust exposure.
MSHA returns home for final dust-rule hearing MSHA returns home for final dust-rule hearing MSHA returns home for final dust-rule hearing MSHA returns home for final dust-rule hearing MSHA returns home for final dust-rule hearing


Donna Schmidt

The meeting will begin at 9am local time on February 15 on the 25th floor of the agency’s headquarters on Wilson Boulevard and should adjourn no later than 5pm.

The other six meetings were held at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver, West Virginia, as well as in Indiana, Alabama, Utah, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

Each hearing’s itinerary included an opening statement from MSHA, followed by an opportunity for members of the public to make verbal presentations.

MSHA is also accept post-hearing written comments and other appropriate information for the record from any interested parties, including those not presenting at hearings.

Comments must be received by midnight EST on May 2; the deadline date was extended earlier this month from an initial deadline of February 28.

Labor for mine safety and health assistant secretary Joseph Main noted in October the proposed rule – Lowering Miners' Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors – would significantly improve health protection for both underground and surface coal miners through the reduction of occupational exposure to respirable coal mine dust.

“It will lower the risk that they will suffer material impairment of health or functional capacity over their working lives,” he said.

The major provisions of the proposal would lower the existing respirable dust exposure limit from 2 milligrams per cubic metre to 1mg/cu.m over a 24-month phase-in period, require full-shift sampling, and a redefinition of the term “normal production shift”

The proposed rule would also provide for the use of a single full-shift compliance sampling under the mine operator and MSHA’s inspector-sampling programs, establish requirements for use of a continuous, personal dust monitor to monitor exposure, and expand medical surveillance of coal miners.

The proposed rule was published on October 19, 2010, and is available at

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