“This should assist our operators in getting a more precise sense of how MSHA will conduct its enforcement,” Joe Casper, vice president of safety services for NSSGA, tells Aggregates Manager. “All operators should have, and have implemented, the NSSGA Occupational Health Program, which is an excellent primer on establishment of a good exposure monitoring program that this rule speaks to.”
Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said in a written press statement that the agency wants “to ensure that miners are protected from overexposure to harmful contaminants.”
In the same prepared statement, Dr. Gregory Wagner, deputy assistant secretary for mine safety and health, said that many diseases and illnesses can be caused by overexposure to harmful airborne contaminants. “Some health conditions can take a long time to develop and may not be apparent at the time of exposure,” Wagner pointed out. “Exposure monitoring programs to identify unhealthful levels of contaminants are critical to disease prevention.”
Main says the increased effort is the first step from the agency in what it calls a wide variety of industry stakeholder outreach, education, development of training programs, and enhanced enforcement of existing standards. A procedure instruction letter has been issued to provide mine inspectors instructions on determining compliance with MSHA’s standards or surface and underground metal and nonmetal mines pertaining to surveys for airborne contaminants required under 30 C.F.R. 56.5002 and 57.5002., available at http://www.msha.gov/regs/complian/PILS/2010/PIL10-IV-01.asp.
Mine operator assistance in planning and implementing a system to conduct surveys to determine the adequacy of control measures is available at www.msha.gov/S&HINFO/ExposureGuidance/ExposureGuidance.asp.
Transportation funding extended — for now
Although the nation still lacks a new surface transportation bill, the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) will remain solvent — at least temporarily — and transportation agencies can keep their projects moving — for now.
The House of Representatives in early December approved a continuing resolution (HR 3082) funding the federal government until Sept. 30, which marks the end of the current fiscal year. The resolution also extends authorizations for federal highway, mass transit, and aviation programs from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30. (To see a blog post about this from Aggregates Manager’s sister magazine, Better Roads, go to http://www.betterroads.com/safetea-lu-extended-again-again/.)