MSHA, NIOSH team up to bust dust

THE best practices for controlling respirable dust in coal operations will be the central topic at a workshop next month co-hosted by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Donna Schmidt

Set for November 3 at MSHA’s National Mine Health and Safety Academy in West Virginia, the event will look at recent research on coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and silicosis as well as tap the expertise of some of the nation’s biggest names in the dust control sector.

“Significant progress has been made since 1970 in lowering dust levels in our nation's coal mines, [but] recent information published by NIOSH indicates that severe cases of CWP continue to occur among coal miners.

“Most troubling is the fact that new cases of progressive massive fibrosis, the most disabling and potentially fatal form of CWP, have been identified in some of the younger miners in our industry,” organizers said, noting that the incurable conditions were preventable.

The event is the first in a series of free regional one-day workshops to bring the expert NIOSH researchers and MSHA together to share practical tools and techniques to prevent CWP and related conditions.

Among the best practice areas to be presented at the West Virginia workshop are:

Health consequences of overexposure to respirable coal and silica dust

Sampling to quantify respirable dust generation

Continuous miner and roof bolter dust control

Proper examination of roof bolter and other dust control systems

How to correctly determine the dust scrubber air quantity

Controlling respirable dust on longwall mining operations

Silica dust controls for surface mines.

The event will begin at 8.30am local time and adjourn at about 4pm. Anyone with an interest in preventing occupational lung disease – including mine managers and operations staff, safety and health specialists, engineers and consultants – is invited to register.

The southern Appalachian gathering is the first in a series of four, with others to be held in Birmingham, Alabama, next March; Evansville, Indiana, next April; and Grand Junction next June.

For more information or to register, visit the MSHA website or contact George Niewiadomski (MSHA) at or Jay Colinet (NIOSH) at

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