Decades after discussing and scrutinizing much-needed changes in the Labor rules the U.S. Labor department has finally acted to bring in the new rules that aim to protect U.S. miners from the deadly black-lung disease.
Much to the cheer of the mine safety activists the rules were recently announced by the department. Once implemented, these rules will enforce tighter standards for lowering and the levels of coat dust to a permissible level for mine operators to work in midst of. The black lung or coal workers’ pneumoconiosis is a serious lung condition that affects thousands of mine workers who are forced to work in a highly coal-dust saturated atmosphere.
The rules will make sure miners are equipped with PDMs- personal dust monitors that allow them to gauge in real-time the extent of coal-dust they’re being exposed to at the time of testing. This will give immediate results in terms of recognizing differing levels of coal-dust led air pollution anytime, anywhere.
The announced changes would be brought into effect in steps. In his statement John Main who is head of Mine Safety & Health Administration said that the rule would give those working today in coal mining a better shot at their career without the danger of ruining their lungs. Its been in midst of a increasing incidence of the Black lung disease in majority of mining pockets located in Appalachia that the new rules become even more relevant. The disease causes coughing fits and chronic breathing difficulty. More than 75,000 deaths have been attributed to the condition from 1967-2007.
The tightening of dust standards when originally proposed met with stiff opposition from coal industry and several important players of the industry’s associated unions as well. Though many mining operators have criticized the move mine experts argue in its favor announcing that the controls are already in place and won’t place additional burden on the industry.