MSHA Ramps Up Exposure Monitoring
The details of the added enforcement remain somewhat vague, but NSSGA is upgrading its efforts to help operations comply with the new standards.
By Tina Grady Barbaccia, News and Digital Editor
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has increased its focus on exposure monitoring at metal and non-metal mines throughout the country “to ensure better worker protection from overexposure to harmful airborne contaminants,” and, accordingly, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) has upgraded efforts to assist industry operators in complying with the standard.
NSSGA sent a letter to industry operators notifying them of the importance of this future MSHA enforcement initiative. Additionally, NSSGA issued a copy of its Occupational Health Program (available at www.nssga.org), which details ways to conduct exposure monitoring necessary for complying with the standard, to executive directors of all state aggregate associations in the hope that this facilitates wider awareness of the upcoming enforcement initiative. NSSGA says that it “is also working to find other vehicles for assisting operators.”
Although NSSGA says it doesn’t know in-depth details of MSHA’s planned enforcement emphasis, the organization says it “is committed to compliance with this and all standards.”
MSHA issued a Procedure Instruction Letter (PIL) 56.5002 on Dec. 16, 2010, stating that ramped-up enforcement is forthcoming on standard 5002 on conducting surveys to ensure the adequacy of controls for airborne contaminants including dust, gas, mist, and fumes.
MSHA says its efforts will include stakeholder outreach, education and training, and enhanced implementation of existing standards.
In particular, MSHA will focus on 30 Code of Federal Regulations 56.5002 and 57.5002, which require mine operators to conduct dust, gas, mist, and fume surveys for harmful airborne contaminants’ fumes to determine the adequacy of control measures.
NSSGA participated in a stakeholder briefing held at MSHA headquarters, at which agency representatives outlined the initiative aimed at reducing illnesses and diseases due to such overexposures and began explaining MSHA’s enforcement approach on complying with the standards. NSSGA reported that, at the meeting, the agency pledged to prospectively share training materials being used for inspector training on the initiative. MSHA believes that the inspector training will be concluded by the end of February.
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