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Lowering Miners' Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors

Abstract: The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 established the first comprehensive respirable dust standards for coal mines. These standards were designed to reduce the incidence of coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP or black lung) and silicosis and eventually eliminate these diseases. While significant progress has been made toward improving the health conditions in our Nation's coal mines, miners continue to be at risk of developing occupational lung disease, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In September 1995, NIOSH issued a criteria document in which it recommended that the respirable coal mine dust permissible exposure limit (PEL) be cut in half. In February 1996, the Secretary of Labor convened a Federal Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Pneumoconiosis Among Coal Miners (Advisory Committee) to assess the adequacy of MSHA's current program and standards to control respirable dust in underground and surface coal mines, as well as other ways to eliminate black lung and silicosis among coal miners. The Committee represented the labor, industry, and academic communities. The Committee submitted its report to the Secretary of Labor in November 1996, with the majority of the recommendations unanimously supported by the Committee members. The Committee recommended a number of actions to reduce miners' exposure to respirable coal mine dust. This final rule is an important element in MSHA's Comprehensive Black Lung Reduction Strategy (Strategy) to "End Black Lung Now."
RIN: 1219-AB64
Type: Rule Making
Program OSRV

Supporting Documents (65)