The results of a review of data gathered by coal mine operators under the requirements of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for longwall coal mining operations from the year 1981 through 1987 were presented. The dust level in the average coal mine using longwall mining procedures exceeded 2.0mg/m3 which was the permissible exposure level (PEL) recommended by MSHA. From 1981 to 1987 the percentage of samples collected that exceeded the PEL were 36, 34, 36, 37, 37, 41, and 38, respectively. Specific longwall occupations studied in the data gathering included the headgate operator, jack setter, shear/plow operator, and tailgate operator. The tailgate operator had the highest degree of exposure of all the workers studied, with the mining method playing an important role in his exposure level. Airborne dust concentrations associated with jack setters have generally decreased from 1983 through 1987. With the shear method, however, the tailgate operator exposure was consistently higher than when the plow method of mining was employed. Use of the shear method has been accompanied by increases in the exposure concentrations each year from 1982 through 1987. Examining the data by state indicated that dust levels in Kentucky and Utah have been steadily increasing over the years of the review. The authors indicated that unless the levels of dust exposure are better controlled, the incidence of coal workers' pneumoconiosis can be expected to increase in the future.