What you Need to Know About the MSHA Respirable Dust Rule?
We all have a right to good health and a healthy working environment. For a long time now, miners in the United States have been suffering from dust caused respiratory illnesses. After concerns were raised, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) set a rule to lower the exposure of miners to mine dust. This MSHA respirable dust rule was set because:
– Since the year 1968, over 76,000 miners have died from the black lung disease, a respiratory illness that not only affects the miners, but also their families and communities.
– Also, since 1970, the federal government has spent over $45 billion in compensating the victims and survivors of this disease. These figures also indicate that $5 billion from that sum was paid as compensation in the last 10 year period.
The occurrence of the disease is mainly in regions where coal is mined. Black lung is not a localized or regional disease meaning that its devastating impact is similar in all regions and states that mine coal. The disease is also more prevalent in active miners as data from surveillance from the last 10 years indicate that more than 1,000 underground miners have black lung.
The rule set by the MSHA reduces the harmful exposure to coal mine dust in several ways. These ways include:
– It closes loopholes and improves sampling practices, therefore, reducing the concentration of coal dust in the air that miners breathe therefore minimizing overexposure to the dust.
– Improves sampling by encouraging the use of cutting-edge technology solely developed for use in testing the air in mining environments so as to provide real-time information on their condition.
– This rule also gives the MSHA the authority to issue citations thus protecting the lives of miners.
A healthy working environment is every worker’s right. Through the MSHA respirable dust rule, we hope that the exposure to mine dust will be minimized and lives spared.