Mine Safety Agency to Consider Personal Dust Monitors

June 12, 2009

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration says it’s planning a hearing on a proposal that would allow new personal dust monitors for coal miners.

Currently, MSHA relies on lab tests that take a week or more to determine how much airborne rock and coal dust is floating around a mine. The agency, mine operators and the United Mine Workers union want monitors that constantly track dust levels, but MSHA needs regulatory criteria for approving the new technology.

MSHA also wants to update requirements for existing dust samplers.

Controlling dust is critical to mine health. Coal and rock dust are linked to deadly conditions, including black lung disease and silicosis.

MSHA says the hearing is scheduled for July 8 at its headquarters in Arlington, Va.

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