"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."
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.
- MSHA Assistant Secretary, Joseph A. Main, discusses progress made during the first year
- Read the official news release about the rule’s one-year anniversary
- Read the Department of Labor blog post about the rule’s one-year anniversary
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:
- Increased sampling by mine operators;
- Use of new technology for real-time sampling results;
- Immediate corrective action when excessive dust levels are found;
- Determination of noncompliance based on a single MSHA sample; and
- Reduced dust standards.
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.
- Read the Final Rule
- Access the Rule’s Regulatory Economic Analysis
- Quantitative Risk Assessment in Support of the Final Rule
- Final Rule Fact sheet
- Summary of Major Provisions and Effective Dates
- Dust Sampling and Compliance Overview
- Questions & Answers about the Final Rule
- Frequently Asked Questions from Stakeholders
- Archived Webpage for End Black Lung – Act Now!
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]
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]
Dust Data Card Examples
Pocket cards for miners
The Toll of Black Lung