MSHA Sets July 8 Hearing on Dust Personal Monitors

Post-hearing comments will be due by Aug. 14. The agency's proposed rule addresses a new technology, a monitor to be worn by coal miners throughout a shift that reports dust exposure levels continuously.

After commenters questioned several elements of a proposed rule specifying a new type of monitor to measure underground coal miners' dust exposures continuously, the Mine Safety and Health Administration and NIOSH announced Tuesday they will hold a public hearing July 8 on the rule. The proposed rule specifics only what the continuous personal dust monitor must do, not how and when mine operators conduct dust sampling (requirements for the latter are found in 30 CFR parts 70, 71, and 90).

Post-hearing comments are due by Aug. 14 and must be identified with RIN 1219-AB61. Submit them at www.regulations.gov or by e-mail to zzMSHA-Comments@dol.gov.

Commenters asked about several parts of the proposal, including proposed Section 74.7(d), which would require the monitor to accurately measure respirable coal mine dust concentrations for an end-of-shift average measurement within the range of 10 percent to twice the permissible exposure limit; and also Section 74.7(i), which would require the monitor's power source to enable continuous sampling for 12 hours in a coal mine dust atmosphere of twice the PEL. A commenter suggested requiring continuous power for 12 or 16 hours because miners work shifts longer than eight hours.

The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. EDT at a conference room in MSHA's office at 1100 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, Va. MSHA will post a transcript of the hearing on its Web site and will include it in the rulemaking record.

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