Respirable Silica (Quartz)

Request for Information

Metal and nonmetal (MNM) miners and coal miners exposed to silica (quartz) in respirable dust can develop various forms of pneumoconiosis that are irreversible, life limiting, and may lead to death.  MSHA’s existing standards limit miners’ exposures to quartz in respirable dust. 

In this Request for Information (RFI), MSHA is interested in data and information on economically and technologically feasible best practices to protect coal and MNM miners’ health from exposure to quartz, including a reduced standard, new or developing protective technologies, and/or technical and educational assistance. 

MSHA specifically requests input from industry, labor, and other interested parties on best practices that will improve health protections for coal and MNM miners from exposure to quartz dust.

  • Please provide any information on new or developing technologies and best practices that can be used to protect miners from exposure to quartz dust.
  • Please provide any information on how engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment can be used, either alone or concurrently, to protect miners from exposure to quartz dust.
  • Please provide any information on additional feasible dust-control methods that could be used by mining operations to reduce miners’ exposure to respirable quartz during high-silica cutting situations, such as on development sections, shaft and slope work, and cutting overcasts. 
  • Please provide any other experience, data, or information that may be useful to MSHA in evaluating miners’ exposures to quartz. 

The comment period for the RFI closes on October 28, 2019.