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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Mine Safety and Health Administration

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Volume 61, Number 80, Page 18158-18159

Mine Shift Atmospheric Conditions; Respirable Dust Sample

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Service, HHS.

ACTION: Notice of public hearing; close of record.

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SUMMARY: The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will hold a public hearing to receive comments on the joint notice proposing a finding that the average concentration of respirable dust, to which each miner in the active workings of a coal mine is exposed, can be measured accurately over a single shift. The hearing will be held in Washington, D.C.

DATES: The public hearing will be held on May 10, 1996, in Washington, D.C. The hearing will begin at 9:00 a.m. The public record will close on June 10, 1996. Requests to make oral presentations for the record should reach MSHA by May 6, 1996. Immediately before the hearing, MSHA will make any unalloted time available to persons making late requests.

ADDRESSES: The hearing will be held at the following location: Frances Perkins Building, Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-5437, Washington, D.C. 20210.

Send requests to make oral presentations to the Mine Safety and Health Administration; Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances; 4015 Wilson Boulevard, Room 631; Arlington, Virginia 22203. Phone or fax requests to make oral presentations to the MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances at voice: 703-235-1910, fax: 703- 235-5551.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ronald J. Schell, Chief, Division of Health, Coal Mine Safety and Health, 703-235-1358.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

On March 12, 1996 (61 FR 10012), MSHA and NIOSH published a notice in the Federal Register reopening the record for their joint notice. The joint notice proposed a finding that the average concentration of respirable dust, to which each miner in the active workings of a coal mine is exposed, can be measured accurately over a single shift. This finding is being made in accordance with section 202(f) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The Agencies reopened the record (1) to submit a definition of accuracy; (2) to supply new data and statistical analyses on the precision of coal mine respirable dust measurements obtained using approved sampling equipment; and (3) to allow the public time to review and submit comments on this supplemental information. This additional information does not change the proposed findings.

The comment period had been scheduled to close on April 11, 1996. In response to requests from the public for additional time to review this information and prepare their comments, the Agencies extended the comment period until June 10, 1996 (61 FR 16123). This extension notice also announced that a public hearing would be held prior to June 10, 1996.

II. Conduct of Hearing

The purpose of the public hearing is (1) to receive relevant comments and (2) to answer questions concerning the definition of accuracy and the new data and statistical analyses on the precision of coal mine respirable dust measurements obtained using approved sampling equipment. A panel of MSHA and NIOSH officials will conduct the hearing in an informal manner. Although formal rules of evidence or cross examination will not apply, the presiding official may exercise discretion to ensure the orderly progress of the hearing and may exclude irrelevant or unduly repetitious material and questions. The hearing panel will be available to address relevant questions. Verbatim transcripts of the proceedings will be prepared and made a part of the rulemaking record. Copies of the hearing transcripts will be made available to the public for review.

The hearing will begin with an opening statement from MSHA and NIOSH, followed by oral presentations from members of the public. In the interests of conducting a productive hearing, MSHA and NIOSH will schedule speakers in a manner that allows all points of view to be heard as effectively as possible. At his discretion, the presiding official may limit speakers to a maximum of 20 minutes for their presentations.

MSHA and NIOSH also will accept additional written comments and other appropriate data for the record from any interested party, including those not presenting oral statements. To allow for the submission of any post-hearing comments, the record will remain open until June 10, 1996. MSHA will include written comments and data submitted to MSHA or NIOSH on or before June 10, 1996, in the rulemaking record.

Dated: April 22, 1996.
J. Davitt McAteer,
Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health.

Dated: April 22, 1996.
Marilyn A. Fingerhut,
Assistant Director for Washington Operations, National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health.

[FR Doc. 96-10246 Filed 4-23-96; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-43-P