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"Congress had it right in 1969 when it enacted legislation calling
for an end to black lung disease. We are here now to finish the job."

- Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary MSHA

Final rule issued to better protect coal miners' health

The new rule will lower the concentration of harmful respirable coal mine dust that causes coal workers' pneumoconiosis, or black lung. It takes a comprehensive approach that includes: increased sampling by mine operators; use of new technology for real-time sampling results; immediate corrective action when excessive dust levels are found; determination of noncompliance based on a single MSHA sample; and reduced dust standards. The rule takes effect August 1, 2014, with some components phased in over the following two years.  Proposed in 2010, the rule builds on years of research and was developed with the input of industry, labor, and health professionals. It is the centerpiece of the agency's campaign to End Black Lung, launched in 2009.

Read the final rule here
Regulatory Economic Analysis
Quantitative Risk Assessment

News release
Fact sheet
Summary by effective date
Sampling and compliance facts
Questions and answers

Event poster: The Toll of Black Lung Continues   
Archived webpage for End Black Lung – Act Now!  

Information for Stakeholders

MSHA will provide extensive guidance and support to mine operators and miners during the implementation period, including through the following:

NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program Approved Facilities

Stakeholder briefing PowerPoint
Field seminar PowerPoint | PDF

Thermo Fisher PowerPoint on CPDMs | Void Codes 9-10-2014

Outreach Activities

Frequently Asked Questions

Dust Sampling Certification Exam 2014

Notice regarding voided bi-monthly samples from July and August

Dust Data Card Examples

Technical handouts

Pocket cards for miners

The Toll of Black Lung

76,000
deaths since 1968

$45 billion
spent in federal compensation

Videos

Related links

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Criteria for a Recommended Standard, 1995

Report of Secretary of Labor's Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Pneumoconiosis Among Coal Mine Workers, 1996

Coal Mine Dust Exposures and Associated Health Outcomes, NIOSH, 2011

Proposed Rule to Lower Miners' Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, 2010

NIOSH webpage on Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis

NIOSH webpage on Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program

Department of Labor's Coal Workers' Compensation webpage