MSHA Starts New Effort to Protect Miners from Silica Hazards

MSHA Starts New Effort to Protect Miners from Silica Hazards

The program includes additional steps to help protect miners from silica exposure.

New initiatives to protect workers from silica dust hazards were recently issued. 

According to a press release, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has recently initiated a new effort to lessen the exposure to these harmful hazards. Many miners are affected by silica dust, which can be found in sand, stone, concrete or mortar.

Without proper protection, exposure to silica dust can lead to silicosis, coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, or black lung, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The new efforts include inspections for mines with previous repeat exposures, additional enforcement for previously cited mines, more silica sampling and best practices for miners. The Educational Field and Small Mine Services will help mine operators improve miner protection.

According to a quote in the press release, “[the MSHA] is working hard and is committed to issuing a silica rule that will enhance health protections for all miners,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson in the press release. “The enforcement initiative that we are announcing today is a step we can take now while we continue the rulemaking process toward the development of an improved mandatory health standard.”

A few months ago, a study was published that suggested a link between silica dust and black lung.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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