MSHA IMPLEMENTS PHASE II OF DUST RULE

John M. Williams (williams@rwktlaw.com)

On February 1, 2016, Phase II of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s respirable dust regulations took effect. Underground coal miners will now wear Continuous Personal Dust Monitors to provide real time analysis of exposure to respirable dust. The goal is to use this real time monitoring to immediately address excessive exposure to coal dust. Operators must also post the results of this sampling within 12 hours of the sampled shift. Any miner who has shown evidence of black lung disease (coal worker’s pneumoconiosis) must be given the sample results within an hour of the start of his or her next work shift.

Phase II comes on the heels of the January 25, 2016 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upholding the new dust rule against a challenge by various trade groups and operators. National Mining Association, et al. vs. Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Case No. 14-11942. Full text of this opinion made be found on the Court’s website.

The third phase of the dust rule takes effect on August 1, 2016. It lowers the dust standard from 2.0 milligrams per cubic meter of air measured over a shift to 2.0 milligrams.©RAJKOVICH, WILLIAMS, KILPATRICK & TRUE, PLLC 2016 

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