MSHA’s Respirable Coal Dust Rule Is Better Protecting Our Nation’s Miners
On August 1, 2014, MSHA’s landmark respirable dust rule went into effect, adding a number of increased protections for coal miners and closing several loopholes that masked their exposure to unhealthy coal mine dust. Respirable coal dust sampling results for the first year of the rule—containing those new protections—show that compliance is achievable and, most importantly, that the nation’s coal miners are now, more than ever before, better protected from the debilitating and deadly black lung disease.
Certification testing required by August 1st
To maintain certification in the tasks the certified person performs, every three years, a person must pass the applicable MSHA examination demonstrating competency in sampling procedures under final § 70.202(c) or competency in maintenance and calibration under final § 70.203(c).
Those who held certification(s) on the effective date of the Final Rule (August 1, 2014) are required to pass the applicable examination by August 1, 2017 to retain their certification.
To schedule certification testing please contact the appropriate District Office, National Mine Academy, or MSHA Headquarters person(s). A fixed schedule for testing is being established and will be posted. It will include the location(s) and times. MSHA will schedule testing at your site but please be reminded not to wait to schedule
Phase III Now in Effect
On August 1, 2016, Phase III of MSHA’s respirable dust rule went into effect.
- The concentration limits for respirable coal mine dust are lowered from 2.0 milligrams of dust per cubic meter of air (mg/m3) to 1.5 mg/m3 at underground and surface coal mines
- The concentration limits for respirable coal mine dust are lowered from 1.0 mg/m3 to 0.5 mg/m3 for intake air at underground mines and for part 90 miners (coal miners who have evidence of the development of pneumoconiosis)
Lowering the concentration of respirable coal mine dust in the air that miners breathe is the most effective means of preventing diseases caused by excessive exposure to such dust.
News & Outreach
- [Posted 7-26-2017]
Complete Quartz Data
The Complete Quartz dataset lists all operator and inspector dust samples taken and analyzed for quartz from 1986 to the present. It includes information that already is on the Quartz Samples dataset on the MSHA website, such as cassette numbers, date the sample was taken, quartz percentage, sample type, occupation codes related to the person or area sampled and mine information. In this compilation, MSHA has included additional information that users previously had to cross reference from other datasets or calculate themselves. Included is mine name, quartz concentration (µg/m3), and respirable dust concentration (mg/m3).
- [Posted 12-16-2016]
Coal mine operators can now correct CPDM samples that have been rejected by MSHA
- [Posted 12-14-2016]
Coal Mine Respirable Dust Control Summit at Mine Academy in Beckley, WV on December 6, 2016.
Other Dust Sources
Coal Mine Respirable Dust Control Summit
Vent - Best Practices
NIOSH Surface Mine Dust Controls
NIOSH Longwall Dust Controls
NIOSH Continuous Miner Dust Controls
News & Outreach Archive
- [Posted 3-25-2016]
Respirable Dust Rule Phase II Stakeholder Meeting was held at the Mine Academy in Beckley, WV on March 24, 2016.
Stakeholder Meeting Presentation
Overview of the Dust Rule, Phase II Presentation
- [Posted 1-29-2016]
Coal mine operators can now upload Continuous Personal Dust Monitors (CPDM) sample files and check the status of previously uploaded files.
- [Posted 1-21-2016]
Notice Regarding Voided Samples from February through March 2016
- [Posted 8-18-2015]
Respirable Dust Rule One-Year Anniversary
- [Posted 7-13-2015]
Flyer on Stakeholder Outreach for Respirable Dust Final Rule Phase II and Proximity Detection Systems Final Rule
- [Posted 5-29-2015]
CPDM Sample File Transmission Outreach
- [Posted 5-4-2015]
Continuous Personal Dust Monitor (CPDM) Training
Schedule of upcoming CPDM Certification Training classes, including course materials and exam questions
- NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program Approved Facilities
- [Posted 2-18-2015]
Free Workshop: Best Practices for Controlling Respirable Dust in Coal Mining
- [Posted 10-08-2014]
Academy workshop on best practices for controlling respirable dust, October 28 2014
- Stakeholder briefing PowerPoint
Field seminar PowerPoint | PDF
- [Posted 9-10-2014]
Thermo Fisher PowerPoint on CPDMs | Void Codes
Outreach Activities on the Respirable Dust Rule: April 2014 – July 2014
Dust Sampling Certification Exam 2014
- Notice regarding voided bi-monthly samples from July and August 2014
Learn More about the Final Rule
Background Information & Documents
The respirable dust rule lowers the concentration of harmful respirable coal mine dust that causes 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
- Reduced dust standards.
The rule took 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
- Access the Rule’s Regulatory Economic Analysis
- Quantitative Risk Assessment in Support of the Final Rule
- Final Rule Fact sheet
- Summary of Major Provisions and Effective Dates
- Dust Sampling and Compliance Overview
- Questions & Answers about the Final Rule
- Frequently Asked Questions from Stakeholders
Educational & Technical Materials
Summary of Changes to Previous Regulations
Best Practices Presentations
Pocket Cards for Miners