Mining Publication: Miners Implement Corrective Actions in Response to CPDM Dust Data
Original creation date: March 2018
Authors: E Haas, J Colinet
In 2014, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) enacted a new regulation, "Lowering Miners' Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors" (30 CFR Parts 70, 71, 72, 75, and 90) that contained several progressive phases. One phase required mine operators to use a continuous personal dust monitor (CPDM) for compliance sampling, with another phase reducing the permissible exposure limit of respirable coal mine dust to 1.5 mg/m3 over the working shift. It has been more than one year since mine operations have had to use the CPDM.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has taken a particular interest in how mines have adapted and integrated the CPDM into job tasks for at least 30 sampling shifts per quarter per mechanized mining unit (MMU), all while complying with this lower standard. NIOSH's efforts have sought to identify what individual miners have learned about their exposure based on CPDM use, the corrective actions identified, and their responsive, behavioral changes to reduce personal exposure to respirable coal mine dust.
To this end, NIOSH researchers obtained Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval to visit six mines during 2016 and 2017 to talk with miners, members of management, and dust technicians. Three of the mines were considered normal seam height and three were considered low coal (MSHA, 2009). About 50 miners shared their feedback, with 35 being those who have had to wear and respond to the dust data provided via the CPDM sampling technology. Corrective actions were identified through interviews and focus groups with individuals at these six mines. Although not an exhaustive list, these shared, repeated situations and common corrective actions taken are discussed to provide ideas for how operations might respond to the CPDM dust data.
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