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Mine Safety and Health Administration

MSHA Proposed Rule

Diesel Particulate Matter Exposure of Underground Metal and Nonmetal Miners [03/24/1999]

[PDF Version]

Volume 64, Number 56, Page 14200-14201

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Mine Safety and Health Administration

30 CFR Part 57

RIN 1219-AB11

 
Diesel Particulate Matter Exposure of Underground Metal and 
Nonmetal Miners

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of hearings; and close of record.

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SUMMARY: MSHA is announcing public hearings on the Agency's proposed 
rule about diesel particulate matter exposure of underground metal and 
nonmetal miners, which was published in the Federal Register on October 
29, 1998. These hearings will be held under section 101 of the Federal 
Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.
    The rulemaking record will remain open until July 26, 1999.

DATES: If you want to make an oral presentation for the record, submit 
your request at least 5 days prior to the hearing date. However, you do 
not have to make a written request to speak. The public hearings will 
be held at the following locations on the dates indicated:

May 11, 1999, Salt Lake City, Utah
May 13, 1999, Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 25, 1999, St. Louis, Missouri
May 27, 1999, Knoxville, Tennessee

    Each hearing will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., but will 
continue into the evening if necessary.
    The rulemaking record will remain open until July 26, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Send requests to make oral presentations to: MSHA, Office of 
Standards, Regulations, and Variances, Room 631, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, 
Arlington, VA 22203-1984.
    The hearings will be held at the following locations:
    1. May 11, 1999, Doubletree Hotel, 255 South West Temple, Salt Lake 
City, Utah 84101, Tel. No. 801-328-2000.

[[Page 14201]]

    2. May 13, 1999, Doubletree Hotel, 201 Marquette NW, Albuquerque, 
New Mexico, 87102, Tel. No. 505-247-3344.
    3. May 25, 1999, Holiday Inn Select, St. Louis Downtown Convention 
Center, 811 North Ninth St., St. Louis, Missouri 63101, Tel. No. 314-
421-4000.
    4. May 27, 1999, Hyatt Regency Knoxville, 500 Hill Avenue, SE, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 37915, Tel. No. 423-637-1234.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carol J. Jones, Acting Director; 
Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, 4015 Wilson 
Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22203-1984. She can be reached at 
cjones@msha.gov (Internet E-mail), 703-235-1910 (Voice), or 703-235-
5551 (Fax).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On October 29, 1998, (63 FR 58104), MSHA published a proposed rule 
that would establish new health standards for underground metal and 
nonmetal mines that use equipment powered by diesel engines.
    The proposed rule is designed to reduce the risks to underground 
metal and nonmetal miners of serious health hazards that are associated 
with exposure to high concentrations of diesel particulate matter 
(dpm). DPM is a very small particle in diesel exhaust. Underground 
miners are exposed to far higher concentrations of this fine 
particulate than any other group of workers. The best available 
evidence indicates that such high exposures put these miners at excess 
risk of a variety of adverse health effects, including lung cancer.
    The proposed rule for underground metal and nonmetal mines would 
establish a concentration limit for dpm, and require mine operators to 
use engineering and work practice controls to reduce dpm to that limit. 
Underground metal and nonmetal mine operators would also be required to 
implement certain ``best practice'' work controls similar to those 
already required of underground coal mine operators under MSHA's 1996 
diesel equipment rule. Additionally, operators would be required to 
train miners about the hazards of dpm exposure.
    The comment period on the proposed rule was scheduled to close on 
February 26, 1999. However, in response to requests from the public for 
additional time to prepare their comments, and with additional data 
added to the rulemaking record by MSHA, the Agency extended the public 
comment period until April 30, 1999 (64 FR 7144).
    The Agency welcomes your comments on the significance of the 
material already in the record, and any information that can supplement 
the record. For example, we welcome comments on: Additional information 
on existing and projected exposures to dpm and to other fine 
particulates in various mining environments; the health risks 
associated with exposure to dpm; on the costs to miners, their families 
and their employers of the various health problems linked to dpm 
exposure; or additional benefits to be expected from reducing dpm 
exposure.
    The rulemaking record will remain open until July 26, 1999.

II. Public Hearings

    MSHA will hold pubic hearings to receive additional public comments 
on the proposed rule addressing diesel particulate matter exposure of 
underground metal and nonmetal miners.
    The hearings will be conducted in an informal manner by a panel of 
MSHA officials. Although formal rules of evidence or cross examination 
will not apply, the presiding official may exercise discretion to 
ensure the orderly progress of the hearings and may exclude irrelevant 
or unduly repetitious material and questions.
    Each session will begin with an opening statement from MSHA, 
followed by an opportunity for members of the public to make oral 
presentations. The hearing panel may ask questions of speakers. At the 
discretion of the presiding official, the time allocated to speakers 
for their presentations may be limited. In the interest of conducting 
productive hearings, MSHA will schedule speakers in a manner that 
allows all points of view to be heard as effectively as possible.
    Verbatim transcripts of the proceedings will be prepared and made a 
part of the rulemaking record. MSHA will make available copies of the 
hearing transcripts for pubic review.
    MSHA will accept additional written comments and other appropriate 
data for the record from any interested party, including those not 
presenting oral statements. Written comments and data submitted to MSHA 
will be included in the rulemaking record.

III. Rulemaking Record

    To allow for the submission of post-hearing comments, the 
rulemaking record will remain open until July 26, 1999. This provides 
nine months from publication for the public to comment on this proposed 
rule.

    Dated: March 8, 1999.
J. Davitt McAteer,
Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 99-7139 Filed 3-23-99; 8:45 am]
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