Search form

Mine Safety Agency Extends Comment Period on Controlling, Monitoring Diesel Exhaust Request for Information

By Carla J. Gunnin
  • September 8, 2016

The public will have until November 30, 2016, to submit comments on the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Request for Information on the agency’s strategies for controlling and monitoring exposure of underground miners to diesel exhaust.

Published on June 8, 2016, the RFI had set a comment deadline of September 6, 2016. Assistant Secretary of Labor Joe Main announced that MSHA is exploring further possible rulemaking to limit diesel exhaust at all mines, both coal and metal/nonmetal. MSHA said it is reviewing the agency’s existing standards and policy guidance to determine the effectiveness of protections currently in place to protect miners from diesel exhaust.

MSHA said government epidemiological studies found that diesel exhaust poses health risks to underground miners, ranging from headaches and nausea to respiratory disease and cancer. Because of carcinogenic risks to the health of workers from exposure to diesel exhaust, MSHA requested information on strategies to improve the control of diesel exhaust and “diesel particulate matter” (“DPM”), a component of diesel exhaust.

The federal agency’s existing regulations speak to the health risks to underground and nonmetal miners and coal miners from exposure to DPM. The agency also restricts the occupational exposure of miners to certain components of the gaseous fraction of diesel exhaust.

A 1996 MSHA final rule protects underground coal miners from diesel exhaust. The rule includes requirements for the monitoring of diesel exhaust emissions by coal mine operators, the use of clean-burning engines on diesel-powered equipment, and the presence of sufficient ventilating air where diesel-powered equipment is operated.

A 2001 MSHA rule limits DPM exposure in underground coal mines. MSHA estimated at the time that non-permissible, light-duty, diesel-powered equipment had a service life of 10 years, and it expects that the older equipment would be replaced with equipment with newer and cleaner diesel engines. MSHA’s latest diesel inventory revealed that the newer equipment makes up about 66 percent of the total existing diesel-powered fleet. In its RFI, MSHA seeks information on the performance of the newer equipment.

Contact Jackson Lewis for complete analysis of the potential rulemaking and implications for the industry.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

September 26, 2019

An Aging Construction Workforce: Recognition and Response

September 26, 2019

The number of workers aged 55 and over is increasing, while the number of workers under the age of 25 is decreasing, according to the 2018 Current Population Survey. The construction industry may feel this more acutely than other industries, as workers in the construction industry tend to be older than those in other industries, the... Read More

August 21, 2019

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency Proposes Changes to Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers

August 21, 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on changes to the hours of service (HOS) rules. Background First adopted in 1937, FMCSA’s HOS rules set the permitted operating hours of commercial drivers. FMCSA mandated use of... Read More

June 25, 2019

The Aging Construction Industry: Keeping Skilled Employees Longer

June 25, 2019

Workers in the construction industry tend to be older than those in other industries, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The median age of construction workers is 42 years old, a year older than the median in the national labor force. Further, the median age of workers in the industry is 44-45 years old in several U.... Read More

Related Practices