This graphic was featured on an MSHA poster warning miners about black lung.

MSHA's Leader to Announce Black Lung Reduction Strategy

Joe Main, the assistant secretary now in charge at MSHA, will unveil a “comprehensive” strategy Dec. 3 at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy, the agency announced.

The new leader of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, Assistant Secretary Joe Main, is tackling a big project early: He'll join several experts at four public events beginning Dec. 3 to announce a "comprehensive black lung reduction strategy," MSHA announced recently. The Dec. 3 kickoff event at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, W.Va., at 11 a.m. EST will be the official launch of the strategy.

MSHA says Main will join Dr. Gregory R. Wagner, deputy assistant secretary for MSHA; representatives from NIOSH; and medical experts to discuss how to prevent black lung, an incurable miners' disease caused by inhaling coal dust.

NIOSH reported a year ago that prevalence of black lung had more than doubled since 1995 among miners who had participated in the Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program and had been coal miners for more than 20 years. "We have seen severe and advanced cases in current underground miners as young as 39. Identification of advanced cases among miners under age 50 is of particular concern, as they were exposed to coal-mine dust in the years after the 1969 federal legislation had mandated disease-prevention measures. An increased risk of pneumoconiosis has been associated with work in certain mining jobs, in smaller mines, in several geographic areas, and among contract miners," the agency noted.

The other three events at which the strategy will be discussed are Monday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. EST, Ramada Inn, 1170 W. Chestnut St., Washington, Pa.; Thursday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m. EST, Russell County Convention Center, 139 Highland Drive, Lebanon, Va.; and Friday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m. EST, Capital Plaza Hotel, 405 Wilkinson Blvd., Frankfort, Ky.

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