U.S. Department of Labor broadcasts silica panel discussion

Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson moderated a live-streamed panel discussion on June 3 to discuss how the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s final rule for respirable crystalline silica will better protect the health of the nation’s miners.

Issued in April 2024, the final rule lowers the permissible exposure limit of respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air for a full-shift exposure, calculated as an eight-hour, time-weighted average. If a miner’s exposure exceeds the limit, the final rule requires mine operators to take immediate corrective actions to come into compliance.

The panelists included current and former miners, mine safety and health experts, labor union representatives and other stakeholders:

  • University of Illinois Mining Education and Research Center Executive Director Dr. Bob Cohen.
  • Labor and employment law attorney Sam Petsonk.
  • United Mine Workers of America Health and Safety Director Josh Roberts.
  • United Mine Workers of America miner Dave Dayton.
  • National Black Lung Association President Gary Hairston.
  • Black Lung Program Coordinator Debbie Wills.
  • Black Lung Clinic Director and respiratory therapist Lisa Emery.

Source: MSHA

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