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Federal Register: December 23, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 246, Page 67013-67014)

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Mine Safety and Health Administration

30 CFR Parts 56, 57, 62, 70, and 71

RIN AA53

Health Standards for Occupational Noise Exposure in Coal, Metal and Nonmetal Mines

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Proposed rule; availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: On December 16, 1997, MSHA published a notice in the Federal Register (62 FR 65777) announcing the availability of a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) entitled ``Prevalence of Hearing Loss For Noise-Exposed Metal/Nonmetal Miners.'' The Agency further stated its intent to supplement the rulemaking record with this report and to make it available to interested parties upon request.

MSHA received several requests from the mining community that they be provided an opportunity to comment on

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the report. The Agency has determined that it is in the public interest to allow interested parties an opportunity to comment. MSHA is reopening the rulemaking record for limited comment on the report.

DATES: Submit written comments on the report on or before January 22, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Comments on the report may be transmitted by electronic mail, fax, or mail. Comments by electronic mail must be clearly identified as such and sent to: psilvey. Comments by fax must be clearly identified as such and sent to: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 703-235-5551. Send mail comments to: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, Room 631, Arlington, VA 22203-1984. Interested persons are encouraged to supplement written comments with computer files or disks.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia W. Silvey, Director, MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 703-235-1910.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 17, 1996, MSHA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (61 FR 66348) revising its health standards for occupational noise exposure in coal and metal and nonmetal mines.

To confirm the magnitude of the risks of NIHL among miners, MSHA examined evidence of reported hearing loss among miners from a variety of sources--audiometric data bases tracking hearing acuity among coal miners, individual commenter data, hearing loss data reported to MSHA, and workers' compensation data. MSHA also asked NIOSH to examine a body of audiometric data which tracked hearing acuity among coal miners and one which tracked hearing acuity among metal and nonmetal miners. NIOSH completed its analysis of the audiometric data on coal miners and issued a report to MSHA entitled ``Analysis of Audiograms for a Large Cohort of Noise-Exposed Miners,'' (Franks, 1996) which is a part of the existing rulemaking record.

On December 16, 1997, MSHA published a notice in the Federal Register (62 FR 65777) announcing the availability of a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) entitled ``Prevalence of Hearing Loss For Noise-Exposed Metal/Nonmetal Miners.'' The Agency further stated its intent to supplement the rulemaking record with this report and to make it available to interested parties upon request.

MSHA received several requests from the mining community that they be provided an opportunity to comment on the report. MSHA has evaluated these requests and believes that a 30 day comment period will provide sufficient time for all interested parties to review the report and comment. All interested members of the mining community are encouraged to submit comments prior to January 22, 1998.

Dated: December 17, 1997.
J. Davitt McAteer,
Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 97-33447 Filed 12-22-97; 8:45 am]
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