MSHA Rule on Rock Dust
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has published a final rule on the maintenance of the incombustible content of rock dust. The rulemaking was spurred by the agency’s review of accident investigation reports of mine explosions
that involved coal dust and by a new report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). According to MSHA, generous rock dusting can prevent coal dust explosions.
An emergency standard was issued in September 2010, and the final rule maintains the same requirements. The rule requires mine operators to maintain the percentage of incombustible content of the combined coal, rock, and other dust at 80% in all accessible areas of underground bituminous coal mines. It also requires an additional .4% for each .1% of methane where methane is present in any ventilating current and increases the total incombustible content for all areas of the mine, other than return air course, from 65 to 80%.
MSHA says it responded quickly to the NIOSH report, which contained new scientific evidence calling for an improved standard for rock dusting.
For the final rule: http://www.msha.gov/REGS/FEDREG/FINAL/2011finl/2011-15247.asp
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