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ATS Testifies in Support of MSHA Silica Standard
This week, the ATS presented testimony at Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) field hearings regarding the proposed new silica exposure standards for metal and non-metal miners. The MSHA has issued the new silica exposure standard in response to a recent spike in silicosis cases in Appalachian coal miners.

The proposed rule would set a new exposure limit of 50µg/m3 -consistent with the existing OSHA standard for other industries and an action limit of 25 µg/m3, at which mine operators will be required to take additional monitoring and intervention steps to reduce silica dust exposure to miners.

In the comments, the ATS supported the proposed new exposure standards and noted that the challenge in protecting miners from silica disease is in the monitoring and enforcement of the silica standard. The ATS further offered comments on how the MSHA could improve the scope, dust sampling, medical monitoring, data reporting, and personal protection equipment elements of the proposed rule to protect miner health.

The MSHA will be holding two additional public hearings on the proposed silica rule, including:

  • Aug. 10 in Beckley, W. Va.
  • Aug. 21 in Denver, Colo.

The MSHA is accepting comments both virtually and in person at the public hearing. The deadline for submitting written comments is Aug. 28, 2023. The ATS will be submitting written comments on the MSHA silica rule.

Last Reviewed: September 2023