The Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today announced the availability for review of a document describing practical methods of reducing miners' exposure to harmful particulates produced by diesel engines.
Diesel engines are widely used to power equipment in the mining industry, from the very small to the very large. While most of the existing fleet is at surface mines, there is increasing use of diesel engines underground. There has been increasing concern that the tiny particulate matter contained in diesel exhaust may lead to health problems for miners. MSHA plans to propose a rule to control diesel particulate in July of this year.
"There is every reason for the mining community to avoid any delay in addressing this problem," said Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The mining community already has the know-how to get the job done."
The publication, entitled "Practical Ways to Control Exposure to Diesel Exhaust in Mining—A Toolbox," is a product of input from the mining community. The "toolbox" describes the experiences of miners, mine operators and diesel equipment manufacturers in seeking to control emissions based on a series of workshops held in late 1995. The publication is currently in draft form. It is organized as a toolbox so that it can be put to use directly by those working with diesel-powered equipment.
The agency plans final publication and widespread distribution by June 1.
A copy of the draft publication may be obtained by contacting MSHA's Office of Technical Support at (703) 235-1580 or from MSHA's homepage on the Internet at www.msha.gov.
Source: MSHA News Release No. 97-0403