The Mine Safety and Health Administration recently announced results from coal mine dust sampling from April 1, 2016 through June 30, 2016, claiming that 99 percent of the samples were in compliance with MSHA’s coal mine dust standards. The agency stated the results demonstrate the “significantly positive impact” of new coal dust sampling rules published in 2014.

The new rules “closed many loopholes in the dust-sampling program” that according to the agency “had left miners exposed to” unhealthy dusts. The rule also included provisions for sampling frequency and the use of a new sampling device.

In a press release issued by the agency, MSHA stated:

For the recent sampling, the agency analyzed more than 20,000 underground coal mine operator samples using the new, cutting edge Continuous Personal Dust Monitor that provides miners with dust results in real time during the working shift. About 99 percent were in compliance.  These results correspond to the respirable dust samples collected from Aug. 1, 2014, through Jan. 2016, during Phase 1, when 87,000 dust samples were collected from surface and underground coal mines by MSHA and coal mine operators.  Nearly 99 percent of those samples met the dust concentration limit.

MSHA noted that Phase III of the rule begins in August. Phase III will lower the respirable dust limit from 2.0 mg per cubic meter to 1.5 mg per cubic meter of air.  Operators should remain diligent with respect to efforts to reduce coal dust levels in accord with MSHA’s efforts in this area.