Status Report on the Recommendations of the Secretary of Labor's
Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Pneumoconiosis Among Coal Mine Workers
On November 14, 1996, the Secretary of Labor's Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Pneumoconiosis Among Coal Mine Workers submitted its report to the Secretary. The report contained recommendations comprised of more than 100 specific action items related to the federal program to protect miners from coal workers' pneumoconiosis and silicosis. MSHA reviewed each recommendation carefully and prioritized them according to the type of action needed to implement the recommendation and its potential impact on miners' health. This process resulted in five categories of recommendations: (1) those already implemented by existing regulations, policies, and procedures; (2) those that could be implemented through administrative or policy changes; (3) those that require public notice and comment rulemaking; (4) those that require both rulemaking and administrative action; and (5) those that require further review and consideration by MSHA. As recommended by the Advisory Committee, MSHA is making this report available to the public to share the Agency's progress toward addressing the Advisory Committee's recommendations.
MSHA has made significant progress in implementing the Advisory Committee's recommendations. These include:
(1) initiating a pilot program to expand federal sampling for respirable coal mine dust and quartz to 75 percent of the nation's coal mines beyond once annually; (2) conducting spot inspections on at least a monthly basis at mines identified as having difficulty complying with respirable dust standards; (3) initiating a nationwide awareness program on the hazards associated with exposure to excessive levels of respirable coal mine and quartz dust and on ways to prevent occupational lung diseases; (4) revising the criteria used for targeting mines requiring increased health enforcement emphasis; and (5) finalizing federal register notices to enable inspection personnel to make noncompliance determinations based on the results of a single-sample measurement.
The Advisory Committee made a number of recommendations which will require public notice and comment rulemaking. MSHA has begun working first on those proposed regulations that the Agency believes will have the greatest impact on improving miners' health and safety. Specifically, MSHA has begun work to (1) develop a separate permissible exposure limit for silica; (2) require mine operators to collect samples to verify the adequacy of plan development to control respirable dust; and (3) extend medical testing (chest x-rays only) of underground coal miners to surface miners.
The following table lists each of the Advisory Committee's recommendations, the status of each, and the specific actions MSHA has taken to address the recommendation. For further information regarding MSHA's activities related to the Advisory Committee report, please contact Ronald Schell, Chief, Division of Health, Coal Mine Safety and Health at (703) 235-1358.
These files are HTML. The last file on the list is in PDF. The PDF file contains all of the charts in one file.