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U.S. Department of Labor

Mine Safety and Health Administration
201 12th Street South, Suite 401
Arlington, VA 22202-5450
ISSUE DATE: December 10, 2007


                       Administrator for
                       Coal Mine Safety and Health

SUBJECT:     Updated Test Questions for Certifying Individuals to Perform Dust
                    Sampling and Maintenance and Calibration of Approved Sampling
                    Equipment (Amended)

Who needs this information?
Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) enforcement personnel, coal operators, miners' representatives, contractors, and special interest groups.

Why is MSHA issuing this bulletin?
This Program Information Bulletin (PIB) and associated test questions amends PIB 07-23 which omitted laboratory performance criteria for the respirable dust sampling test and contained errata in the test questions. This PIB informs the mining community of the updated pool of test questions for certifying individuals to perform dust sampling and maintaining and calibrating approved sampling equipment. Questions have been updated to include a more recently approved coal mine respirable dust sampling unit, remove units no longer approved, and improve coverage of the different aspects of the associated regulations. The questions related to maintenance and calibration of the approved respirable dust sampling unit have been updated to include new technology and improved coverage of the associated regulations.

What is the background for this PIB?
Title 30 C.F.R. parts 70, 71, and 90 require respirable dust sampling and maintenance and calibration of approved sampling devices to be performed by a certified person. Current regulations require an individual to pass the MSHA examination on sampling of respirable coal mine dust or the MSHA examination on maintenance and calibration procedures for respirable dust sampling equipment to become certified in either function.

What is the effect of updating the certification examination(s)?
The updated test questions will help those seeking to be certified to become familiar with the regulatory sampling requirements, the sampling and calibration equipment required to be used, and the procedures to be used for maintenance and calibration of this equipment. It will also help instructors better evaluate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of an individual seeking to perform the duties and responsibilities of a certified person and ensure more uniform administration of certification examinations.

How will the examination(s) be administered?
If the individual seeking to be certified for respirable dust sampling attends a class of instruction administered by MSHA, the certification examination will involve answering at least 25 questions, completing the Dust Data Card based on the scenario provided, and satisfactory completion of the performance criteria outlined below. The examination will consist of at least 5 questions, selected by the instructor, from each of the 5 sections of the pool of questions.

In the event the individual elects to only take the exam, the certification examination will involve answering all 123 questions included in the 5 sections, completion of the Dust Data Card, and satisfactory completion of the performance criteria outlined below.

Performance Criteria. Each applicant will: Those seeking to be certified to maintain and calibrate approved respirable dust sampling equipment will be required to answer all 37 questions from the 4 sections of the examination. In addition, the individual must demonstrate proficiency in setting up the calibration equipment, examining and testing an approved sampling device for deficiencies, and properly calibrating at least one sampling device.

The minimum passing score for each examination (including lab or performance criteria) will be 80 percent.

Who are the contact persons for this bulletin?
Coal Mine Safety and Health
Division of Health
Robert A. Thaxton, (202) 693-9515

Coal Mine Safety and Health
Division of Health
John R. Hendley, (202) 693-9534 Is this information bulletin on the Internet?
This PIB may be viewed on the Internet by accessing MSHA's Home Page at and then choosing "Compliance Info" and "Program Information Bulletins."

What is the authority for this bulletin?
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, as amended, 30 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.; 30 C.F.R. parts 70, 71, 74, and 90.

Who will receive this bulletin?
Program Policy Manual Holders
Miners' Representatives
Mine Operators
Special Interest Groups