The U.S Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) launched an awareness effort Sept. 29 regarding regulations that give coal miners with black lung the right to work in mine areas with lower levels of dust.
These regulations give miners with black lung, or pneumoconiosis, the right to work in sections of a mine that have lower dust levels without a reduction in pay or fear of discrimination or termination.
Education on Part 90 protections
Part 90 of the Title 30 Code of Federal Regulations protects miners diagnosed with pneumoconiosis, a disease caused by inhaling dust, according to an MSHA news release. This regulation applies to all miners in U.S. surface and underground coal mines, including loadout facilities and preparation plants.
MSHA is launching its Part 90 educational initiative to inform these workers they are eligible for free medical exams if they believe they have black lung. Mine operators will pay for the exams, which will receive approval from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Those miners diagnosed with black lung will have the right to work in a section of mine with low dust levels.
Website updated to make info easily accessible
To make this information more easily accessible, MSHA has updated its website to highlight miners’ rights to protect their health and to understand and use the Part 90 program.
This initiative is part of a broader Miner Health Matters campaign to ensure that miners’ health is considered just as important as their safety. Along with raising awareness, MSHA is also including enforcement and outreach efforts to ensure miners working in potentially dangerous environments take proper precautions to limit exposures to silica and other dangerous toxins.