MSHA Implements Second Phase of Respirable Dust Rule
On Feb. 1, 2016, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced the implementation of Phase II of the agency’s respirable coal mine dust rule. The final rule, which went into effect Aug. 1, 2014, is intended to prevent black lung disease among coal miners due to exposure to coal mine dust. Phase II of the rule requires underground coal mine operators to use continuous personal dust monitors (CPDMs) to measure dust levels in real time and monitor underground coal mine occupations exposed to the highest respirable dust concentrations, including all miners with signs of black lung. Operators must also collect an increased number of respirable coal mine dust samples and notify miners more quickly about the results of sampling. According to MSHA’s press release, CPDM sampling results must be posted within 12 hours of the sampled shift and miners with evidence of black lung should be notified within the first hour of their next work shift. The CPDM is a piece of wearable technology that provides real-time measurements of accumulated and full-shift exposures to respirable coal mine dust. “For the first time, coal miners will know in real time how much coal mine dust they are breathing during their shift, so that immediate corrective actions can be taken,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for MSHA. The first phase of the rule placed additional requirements on coal mine operators such as sampling full shifts consecutively, sampling at 80 percent of normal production, and conducting thorough examinations of the dust controls on each shift. The rule is being implemented in three phrases, with the third and final phase beginning in August 2016. Learn more on MSHA’s website.
Video source: UK Health and Safety Executive. Total run time: 17:32.