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"Congress had it right in 1969 when it enacted legislation calling
for an end to black lung disease. We are here now to finish the job."

- Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary MSHA

MSHA’s Respirable Coal Dust Rule Is Better Protecting Our Nation’s Miners

On August 1, 2014, MSHA’s landmark respirable dust rule went into effect, adding a number of increased protections for coal miners and closing several loopholes that masked their exposure to unhealthy coal mine dust. Respirable coal dust sampling results for the first year of the rule—containing those new protections—show that compliance is achievable and, most importantly, that the nation’s coal miners are now, more than ever before, better protected from the debilitating and deadly black lung disease. 

Learn More about the Final Rule

The rule lowers the concentration of harmful respirable coal mine dust that causes black lung. It takes a comprehensive approach that includes:

The rule took effect August 1, 2014, with some components phased in over the following two years. Proposed in 2010, the rule builds on years of research and was developed with the input of industry, labor, and health professionals. It is the centerpiece of the agency's campaign to end black lung, launched in 2009.

Information for Stakeholders

MSHA will provide extensive guidance and support to mine operators and miners during the implementation period, including through the following:

Notice Regarding Voided Samples from February through March 2016 [Posted 1-21-2016]

Flyer on Stakeholder Outreach for Respirable Dust Final Rule Phase II and Proximity Detection Systems Final Rule [Posted 7-13-2015]

Continuous Personal Dust Monitor (CPDM) Training
Schedule of upcoming CPDM Certification Training classes, including course materials and exam questions

Best Practices for Controlling Respirable Dust in Coal Mining [Posted 2-18-2015]

NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program Approved Facilities

Stakeholder briefing PowerPoint
Field seminar PowerPoint | PDF

Thermo Fisher PowerPoint on CPDMs | Void Codes [Posted 9-10-2014]

Outreach Activities

Frequently Asked Questions

Dust Sampling Certification Exam 2014

Notice regarding voided bi-monthly samples from July and August 2014

Dust Data Card Examples

Technical handouts

Pocket cards for miners

The Toll of Black Lung

deaths since 1968

$45 billion
spent in federal compensation



Related links

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Criteria for a Recommended Standard, 1995

Report of Secretary of Labor's Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Pneumoconiosis Among Coal Mine Workers, 1996

Coal Mine Dust Exposures and Associated Health Outcomes, NIOSH, 2011

Proposed Rule to Lower Miners' Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, 2010

NIOSH webpage on Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis

NIOSH webpage on Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program

Department of Labor's Coal Workers' Compensation webpage