MSHA Has Reopened Diesel Exhaust RFI for Comments

MSHA sought information and data on the effectiveness of its current standards and policy guidance on controlling miners' exposure to diesel exhaust -- standards that date to 2001, when an MSHA final rule established new health standards for underground metal and nonmetal mines that use equipment powered by diesel engines.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration recently reopened the public comment period on its Request for Information on Exposure of Underground Miners to Diesel Exhaust, which was published in June 2016.

Comments now must be received by midnight EST on March 26, 2019.

MSHA's RFI sought information and data on the effectiveness of its current standards and policy guidance on controlling miners' exposure to diesel exhaust -- standards that date to 2001, when an MSHA final rule established new health standards for underground metal and nonmetal mines that use equipment powered by diesel engines (30 CFR part 57). This rule established a concentration limit for diesel particulate matter (DPM) and required mine operators to use engineering and work practice controls to reduce DPM to that limit. MSHA published another final rule four years later that replaced the concentration limit for DPM exposures of metal and nonmetal miners from a total carbon (TC) permissible exposure limit to a comparable elemental carbon (EC) PEL, which the agency considered a more accurate measure of DPM exposure. But after publishing that rule, MSHA decided the engineering applications and technological implementation issues were more complex and extensive than previously thought, and on May 18, 2006, it published a final rule that reverted back to using TC to measure DPM exposure. This rule phased in over a two-year period a final DPM PEL of 160 micrograms of TC per cubic meter of air.

The RFI's original comment period closed Nov. 30, 2016. According to MSHA's reopening announcement, as a result of collaboration at a partnership meeting in December 2016, the comment period was reopened until Jan. 9, 2018, and, since then, MSHA has received more stakeholder requests to provide additional time for all stakeholders to share input and data.

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