Analysis of U.S. Small-Mine Compliance Feasibility with Proposed New Respirable Dust Standards and Implications for Better Dust Control Methods


In 2010, MSHA began holding hearings on a new coal mine respirable dust rule, which proposes a 1.0 mg/m³ standard, a separate 0.1 mg/m³ quartz standard, and the use of single-shift samples for compliance. Small mines largely comprise the 'hot spots' where dust diseases of the lungs increased dramatically over the past decade. This paper presents findings on the feasibility of small mines' compliance with the proposed new 1.0 mg/m³ standard. It gives probabilities of noncompliance by MSHA district, seam height, and selected 'hot spot' counties. Because silicosis and respirable quartz dust appear to be the primary issues related to a recent doubling of the prevalence of dust diseases of the lungs, multiple regression models for prediction of the average total quartz content of compliance samples are given. These findings have significant implications on the need for better dust control methods. Copyright © 2012 by SME.

Meeting Name

2012 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit, SME 2012 (2012: Feb. 19-22, Seattle, WA)


Mining Engineering

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2012 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

22 Feb 2012

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