Coal Dust Guidelines

Coal Dust Guidelines – The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is revising the Agency’s existing standards on miners’ occupational exposure to respirable coal mine dust in order to: Lower the existing exposure limits; provide for full-shift sampling; redefine the term “normal production shift”; and add reexamination and decertification requirements for persons certified to sample for dust, and maintain and calibrate sampling devices. In addition, the rule provides for single shift compliance sampling by MSHA inspectors, establishes sampling requirements for mine operators’ use of the Continuous Personal Dust Monitor (CPDM), requires operator corrective action on a single, full-shift operator sample, changes the averaging method to determine compliance on operator samples, and expands requirements for medical surveillance of coal miners. The purpose of this final rule is to reduce occupational lung diseases in coal miners. Chronic exposure to respirable coal mine dust causes lung diseases including coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), emphysema, silicosis, and chronic bronchitis, known collectively as “black lung.” These diseases are debilitating and can result in disability and premature death. Based on data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), new cases continue to occur among coal miners.