MSHA Bulletin Encourages Use of Explosibility Meters

The document alerts underground coal mines' operators about the publication of findings from a joint study strongly supporting the use of these direct-reading devices in the field.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration's Coal Mine Safety and Health Administrator, Kevin Stricklin, and Director of Technical Support George M. Fesak are the signers of a Jan. 25 program information bulletin strongly encouraging operators of underground coal mines to use coal dust explosibility meter to analyze dust samples.

The bulletin references recently published results of a 2009-2010 NIOSH/MSHA study of the CDEM's performance in 10 bituminous coal districts, where samples tested in the field for explosibility were then sent to the MSHA National Air and Dust Laboratory at Mt. Hope, W.Va., for confirmation testing.

The field test indicated 30 percent of the 591 samples were explosible. When MSHA retested the samples, it confirmed 97 percent of those pinpointed by the CDEM instrument.

The study strongly supports field use of the CDEM, which has been commercialized by Sensidyne and NIOSH, to measure the explosibility of coal and rock dust mixtures. Mine operators could use it to ensure their rock dusting practices are effective and meet the intent of 30 CFR 75.403, while MSHA inspectors could use it to identify explosibility hazards on site.

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