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US MSHA proposes new rules on DPM exposure

16 August 2003

The US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a proposed rule addressing miners’ exposure to diesel particulate matter (DPM) in underground metal and nonmetal (i.e., non-coal) mining operations. A notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on August 14 (30 CFR Part 57, “Diesel Particulate Matter Exposure of Underground Metal and Nonmetal Miners”). The proposal is part of a settlement agreement reached in response to a legal challenge to the MSHA 19 January 2001 DPM regulations.

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The proposed rule would change the interim DPM concentration limit to a comparable permissible exposure limit measured differently and considered to be more accurate. The proposal would also implement changes in enforcement strategies that are used at metal and nonmetal underground mines and simplify requirements for a DPM control plan. In particular, MSHA would be allowed to consider economic and technological feasibility in determining if mine operators qualify for an extension of time in which to meet the DPM limits.

Comments on the proposed rule may be transmitted electronically to comments@msha.gov or by fax to 202-693-9441. Written comments may be addressed to MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, 1100 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA, 22209-3939. The comment period closes on 14 October 2003.

MSHA will also conduct three public hearings on the proposed rule. Hearings are scheduled for Salt Lake City, UT, on September 16; St. Louis, MO, on September 18; and Pittsburgh, PA, on September 23.

Source: US MSHA