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Department of Labor

Mine Safety and Health Administration

Volume 61, Number 7, Page 731

Extension of Time for Response to a NIOSH Criteria Document

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice; Extension of time for response by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to the recommended standard on occupational exposure to respirable coal mine dust from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
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SUMMARY: On November 7, 1995, MSHA received criteria for a recommended standard from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, the Secretary of Labor must take one of the following three actions within 60 days of receipt of the NIOSH criteria:

As a result of the lapse in funding for the U.S. Department of Labor and the partial government shutdown, MSHA has been unable to meet the 60-day statutory deadline for a response.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia Silvey, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, Mine Safety and Health Administration, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22203, (703) 235-1910.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, 30 U.S.C. 801 et seq. (Mine Act), authorizes the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to recommend that the Secretary of Labor promulgate specific occupational safety and health standards to serve the objectives of the Mine Act. By means of criteria documents NIOSH notifies MSHA, as well as others with an interest in occupational safety and health, of its recommendations for health and safety standards. When the Secretary of Labor receives any such recommendation from NIOSH, Section 101(a)(1) of the Mine Act requires him to take one of three actions within 60 days:

On November 7, 1995, NIOSH transmitted to MSHA the document entitled Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, which examines the occupational health risks associated with exposures to respirable coal mine dust and crystalline silica over a working lifetime. In that document NIOSH makes a number of recommendations for reducing those risks, including reducing the permissible exposure levels for respirable coal mine dust and for respirable crystalline silica by 50 percent.

Because of the lapse in funding for the U.S. Department of Labor and the resulting shutdown, MSHA has been unable to meet the statutory deadline for a response to the NIOSH criteria document. As soon as MSHA resumes normal operations, the agency will move as quickly as possible to respond to the criteria document, and will publish notice of its response in the Federal Register.

Dated: January 4, 1996.
J. Davitt McAteer, Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 96-331 Filed 1-9-96; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-43-M