Union declares war on MSHA rules

THE United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) urged congress to take action that required the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) to drop its proposed rules on respirable coal dust.
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Staff Reporter

THE UMWA called on congress to withdraw dust rules proposed by the MSHA and craft new proposals. UMWA occupational health & safety administrator Joe Main told U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Related Agencies on Thursday that new rules need to be drafted to protect miners against black lung disease.

Main said the MSHA's new proposals should require continuous personal dust sampling devices in all underground mines.

He said the devices would provide instant and constant information on dust levels miners are exposed to on each shift, every day, and help protect miners from unhealthy respirable coal dust.

"Compliance sampling must be required in a way that would bring about long-overdue credibility to the troubled respirable dust program," Main said.

"It is essential the new rules allow meaningful participation by miners in the dust sampling program," Main said.

The National Mining Association also testified at the subcommitte hearings last week.

"The National Mining Association envisions new dust sampling technology, the Personal Dust Monitor (PDM), to be the centerpiece upon which a new regulatory program will be built," NMA safety and health committee vice chairman David Beerbower said.

"Never before have we had within our grasp a tool to empower miners and mine operators to initiate intervention actions based upon the results of real-time sampling."

On behalf of NMA, he commended the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for their continued support and commitment to purchase 25 production prototypes following completion of the initial round of testing.

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