Coal Mine Dust Samples Show Final Rule is Highly Achievable

The final rule aims to lower miners’ exposure to respirable coal mine dust

The Mine Safety and Health Administration's chief announced that coal dust sampling has proven that compliance with the latest final rule's tougher requirements is achievable.

"This is very good news for coal miners and validates the ability of mine operators to maintain the low dust levels to meet the new standard," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. This news was delivered Thursday morning at a hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce's Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

Last April, MSHA published a final rule to lower miners' exposure to respirable coal dust in all underground and surface coal mines. More than 41,000 dust samples were collected, and sampling results show that about 99 percent are in compliance. The final rule lowers the concentration of coal dust that miners breathe; improves sampling practices to better reflect actual working conditions to protect all miners from overexposures; and makes use of cutting-edge technology developed to provide real-time information about dust levels. It also allows miners and operators to identify problems and make necessary adjustments and requires immediate corrective action for excessive levels of dust.

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