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Is regulation effective? A case study of underground coal mining.
Ann NY Acad Sci 1989 Dec; 572:189-199
A significant experiment in primary preventive medicine began in the United States with the passage of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Regulation under the mining act has been effective, has reduced the risk of traumatic death in the industry, reduced exposure to respirable dust and appears also to have reduced the occurrence of pneumoconiosis. Observation of fatality rates showed little decline from 1933 through 1970. By 1980 the fatality rate was less than half the rate for the period before the act. Exposure to respirable dust before 1969 was rarely measured. One survey of 29 mines was undertaken for 1968 through 1969 the last 6 months of 1970 and the first 6 months of 1971. The average MRE equivalent dust concentration for continuous mine operators was about 6mg/m3 in 1968 through 1969 and fell to about 2.5 mg/m3 in 1970. Despite nearly 20 years of epidemiologic research, it has not been easy to demonstrate that the occurrence of pneumoconiosis among US miners is reduced, largely due to the weaknesses in research and monitoring programs.
NIOSH-Publication; Mining-industry; Epidemiology; Underground-miners; Coal-mining; Respiratory-system-disorders; Lung-disease; Dust-exposure; Occupational-exposure
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Page last reviewed: September 11, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division