Fighting for Justice in the Coalfields

MSHA to Hold Prestonsburg Hearing on New Black Lung Regulations

MSHA Proposes New Regulations to End Black Lung Disease

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has proposed regulations to lower miner’s exposure to coal mine dust by reducing the legal dust limit and by requiring the use of Continuous Personal Dust Monitors to measure airborne dust.

According to MSHA, the proposed rule would significantly improve health protections for coal miners by reducing their exposure to respirable coal mine dust and lowering the risk that they will suffer from Black Lung Disease. Under the proposal, the legal limit on coal dust in underground mines — currently 2.0 milligrams per cubic meter of air — would be reduced to 1.7 milligrams six months after the rule is finalized. The limit would be tightened to 1.5 milligrams in a year and then to 1.0 milligrams a year after that.  The Continuous Personal Dust Monitor records all of the data and the data can be retrieved later by MSHA to determine whether the mine is complying with the dust limits.  The device is worn by the individual miner and it is capable of continually measuring the airborne dust in the area where the miner is working.

As part of the process of changing the regulation MSHA will hold a public hearing at the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park near Prestonsburg, KY on February 10, 2011, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The hearing is open to the public: anyone who is interested in Black Lung disease and coal mine health and safety is encouraged to attend and to comment on the proposed regulation.  The deadline for submitting written comments to MSHA is February 28, 2011.  Written comments must be clearly

identified with ‘‘RIN 1219–AB64’’ and may be sent by any of the following methods:

Email: Include ‘‘RIN 1219–AB64’’ in the subject line of the message.

Facsimile: 202–693–9441. Include ‘‘RIN 1219–AB64’’ in the subject line of the message.

Regular Mail: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, Virginia 22209–3939.


The proposed rule is available at


If you would like more information about the proposed rule or the public hearing, please contact Steve or Wes at the Law Center.

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