MSHA chief touts ‘significance’ of proposed silica rule’s look on regulatory agenda

Arlington, VA — The inclusion of a long-awaited Mine Security and Well being Administration proposed rule on respirable crystalline silica within the Division of Labor’s Fall 2022 regulatory agenda represents a milestone for which MSHA administrator Chris Williamson desires to “underscore the importance.”

Talking throughout a Jan. 25 convention name for company stakeholders, Williamson spoke of the lengthy path the proposal has taken since first showing within the Spring 1998 regulatory agenda. MSHA forecasted a proposed rule on silica could be in place in December 1998, Williamson famous.

The latest agenda, issued on Jan. 4 by the White Home Workplace of Info and Regulatory Affairs, lists April as a goal date for publication of a proposed rule.

Though the interagency overview course of is “out of our fingers,” Williamson mentioned, he stays optimistic concerning the development of the proposal. “We stay up for, as soon as we get the proposed rule out, receiving and reviewing the substantive, considerate feedback that we all know that we’ll get from this group and others.”

OSHA estimates that 2.3 million employees are uncovered to silica mud yearly.

In the course of the name, MSHA Chief of Well being Gregory Meikle listed the mining occupations most frequently overexposed to silica final 12 months. For coal mines, these included machine operators, highwall drill operators and roof bolter operators. Stone cutters, crusher operators, and baggers have been probably the most overexposed at metallic and nonmetal mines.

Amongst MSHA’s quite a few finest practices for mud management:
At coal mines:

  • Water spray methods on the slicing drum or growth
  • Elevated face air flow
  • Enclosed cab filtration methods
  • Tools upkeep and cab cleansing

At metallic and nonmetal mines:

  • Moist slicing when potential
  • Native exhaust air flow methods on the workstation and/or space
  • Implementation of correctly designed moist spray methods

Latest analysis from the College of Illinois Chicago suggests the lung tissue of up to date coal miners comprises larger ranges of respirable crystalline silica mud than counterparts of earlier generations – which can clarify a surge in circumstances of progressive massive fibrosis, probably the most extreme type of black lung illness.


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