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Posted By Brooke Wisdom On February 1, 2011 @ 6:00 am In AggBeat,Articles,Departments | No Comments

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 [1]), 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.

“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 [2].

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 [3].



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/ [4].)

According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) reading of the continuing resolution, or CR, it “will give state DOTs a full fiscal year of authorization to plan for their 2011 construction season. The Federal Highway Program will receive a total of $41.9 billion in contract authority that FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) will allocate to the states under the SAFETEA-LU formula. The CR will provide $41.1 billion for the Federal Highway Program for 2011, the exact amount provided for in 2010. There are no earmarks of any kind in the Continuing Resolution — $41.1 billion is the amount states can actually spend on their Federal Highway Program in 2011.”

The Senate also voted 79-16 on Dec. 21 to temporarily extend federal highway and transit programs, as well as appropriations for the U.S. Department of Transportation and other government agencies, until March 4, according to a report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Funding for the federal government under the just voted on CR was set to expire Dec. 21, and temporary authorization for highway and transit programs had been set to expire on Dec. 31.

This current “stop-gap measure” would be the sixth short-term extension of the 2005 SAFETEA-LU surface transportation authorization law, which originally expired on Sept. 30, 2009.

The previous surface transportation bill, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, was extended 12 times before SAFETEA-LU was signed into law.

To see the 28-page section of the continuing resolution dealing with transportation reauthorization, go to http://bit.ly/HouseCRtext [5].



House Rules Package ‘would hurt investment in transporation infrastructure’

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/ [4].)

According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) reading of the continuing resolution, or CR, it “will give state DOTs a full fiscal year of authorization to plan for their 2011 construction season. The Federal Highway Program will receive a total of $41.9 billion in contract authority that FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) will allocate to the states under the SAFETEA-LU formula. The CR will provide $41.1 billion for the Federal Highway Program for 2011, the exact amount provided for in 2010. There are no earmarks of any kind in the Continuing Resolution — $41.1 billion is the amount states can actually spend on their Federal Highway Program in 2011.”

The Senate also voted 79-16 on Dec. 21 to temporarily extend federal highway and transit programs, as well as appropriations for the U.S. Department of Transportation and other government agencies, until March 4, according to a report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Funding for the federal government under the just voted on CR was set to expire Dec. 21, and temporary authorization for highway and transit programs had been set to expire on Dec. 31.

This current “stop-gap measure” would be the sixth short-term extension of the 2005 SAFETEA-LU surface transportation authorization law, which originally expired on Sept. 30, 2009.

The previous surface transportation bill, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, was extended 12 times before SAFETEA-LU was signed into law.

To see the 28-page section of the continuing resolution dealing with transportation reauthorization, go to http://bit.ly/HouseCRtext [5].


An audit by the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General reveals that 56 percent of ‘experienced’ journeymen MSHA inspectors aren’t trained properly.

 

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Article printed from Aggregates Manager: http://www.aggman.com

URL to article: http://www.aggman.com/aggbeat-8/

URLs in this post:

[1] www.nssga.org: http://www.nssga.org

[2] http://www.msha.gov/regs/complian/PILS/2010/PIL10-IV-01.asp: http://www.msha.gov/regs/complian/PILS/2010/PIL10-IV-01.asp

[3] www.msha.gov/S&HINFO/ExposureGuidance/ExposureGuidance.asp: http://www.msha.gov/S&HINFO/ExposureGuidance/ExposureGuidance.asp

[4] http://www.betterroads.com/safetea-lu-extended-again-again/: http://www.betterroads.com/safetea-lu-extended-again-again/

[5] http://bit.ly/HouseCRtext: http://bit.ly/HouseCRtext

[6] http://www.gettag.mobi: http://www.gettag.mobi

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