Department of Labor (DOL)
Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
2117. DIESEL PARTICULATE MATTER EXPOSURE OF UNDERGROUND METAL AND NONMETAL MINERS
Priority: Other Significant
Legal Authority: 30 USC 811; 30 USC 813
CFR Citation: 30 CFR 57
Legal Deadline: None
Abstract: On January 19, 2001 MSHA published a final rule addressing diesel particulate matter (DPM) exposure of underground metal and nonmetal miners (66 FR 5706). The final rule established new health standards for underground metal and nonmetal mines that use equipment powered by diesel engines. The rule established an interim concentration limit of 400 micrograms of total carbon per cubic meter of air that became applicable July 20, 2002, and a final concentration limit of 160 micrograms to become applicable after January 19, 2006. Industry challenged the rule and organized labor intervened in the litigation. Settlement negotiations with the litigants have resulted in further regulatory actions on several requirements of the rule. One final rule was published on February 27, 2002, (67 FR 9180). MSHA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on September 25, 2002, (67 FR 60199) to obtain additional information and published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in August 2003 (68 FR 48668). MSHA issued a final rule on June 6, 2005 (70 FR 32868) that revised MSHA's existing standards addressing diesel particulate matter (DPM) exposure in underground metal and nonmetal (M/NM) mines. The rule, among other things, changed the interim concentration limit measured by total carbon (TC) to a comparable permissible exposure limit (PEL) measured by elemental carbon (EC). MSHA proposed a rule (70 FR 53280) on September 7, 2005, to phase in the final DPM limit because the agency was concerned that there may be feasibility issues for some mines to meet the final limit of 160 micrograms by January 20, 2006. Accordingly, MSHA proposed a five-year phase-in period and noted our intent to initiate a separate rulemaking to convert the final DPM limit from a total carbon limit to an elemental carbon limit. We also proposed to delete the existing provision that restricts newer mines from applying for an extension of time for meeting the final concentration limit. In addition, we requested comments and data on an appropriate conversion factor for the final DPM limit, technological implementation issues, and the costs and benefits of the proposed rule. We also requested comments on the appropriateness of including in a final rule a provision for medical evaluation of miners required to wear respiratory protection and transfer of miners who have been determined by a medical professional to be unable to wear a respirator. Public hearings were held in January 2006.
On May 18, 2006 (71 FR 28924), MSHA published a final rule that phases in the DPM final limit of 160TC ug/m3 over a two-year period, based on feasibility. On May 20, 2006, the first phase of the final limit of 308 EC ug/m3 became effective. On January 20, 2007, the DPM final limit will be reduced to 350TC ug/m3. The final limit of 160TC ug/m3 will become effective on May 20, 2008. Mine operators must continue to use engineering and administrative controls, supplemented by respiratory protection when needed, to reduce miners' exposures to the prescribed limits. As with the interim DPM limit, MSHA will enforce the final limits as permissible exposure limits (PEL).
The final rule also establishes new requirements for medical evaluation of miners required to wear respiratory protection, and transfer of miners who are medically unable to wear a respirator. It deletes the existing provision that restricts newer mines from applying for an extension of time in which to meet the final limit.
MSHA is committed to initiating a separate rulemaking to determine the correct TC to EC conversion factor for the phased-in final limits.
________________________________________________________________________ Action Date FR Cite ________________________________________________________________________ Final Action 02/27/02 67 FR 9180 ANPRM 09/25/02 67 FR 60199 ANPRM Comment Period End 11/25/02 NPRM 08/14/03 68 FR 48668 NPRM Comment Period End 10/14/03 Limited Reopening of the Comment Period 02/20/04 69 FR 7881 Limited Reopening of the Comment Period End 04/05/04 69 FR 7881 Final Action 06/06/05 70 FR 32868 Final Action Effective 07/06/05 Second NPRM 09/07/05 70 FR 53280 Notice of Public Hearing 09/07/05 70 FR 53280 Close of Comment Period 09/07/05 70 FR 53280 Request for Data 09/07/05 70 FR 53280 Comment Period Extended 09/19/05 70 FR 55018 Change of Public Hearings Dates 09/19/05 70 FR 55018 Extension Of Comment Period 01/26/06 71 FR 4331 NPRM Comment Period End 02/17/06 Final Action 05/18/06 71 FR 28924 Final Action Effective 05/18/06 Final rule; corrections 06/27/06 71 FR 36483
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No
Government Levels Affected: None
Agency Contact: Patricia W. Silvey, Director, Office of Standards,
Regulations, and Variances, Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health
Administration, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, VA 22209-3939
Phone: 202 693-9440
Fax: 202 693-9441