"MSHA Increases Rock Dust Standard"

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Citing a 'grave danger' to the nation's coal miners, the Obama administration said Tuesday that mine operators must take additional steps to control the buildup of highly explosive coal dust underground.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration issued an emergency rule that will force operators to apply more crushed stone to the walls, floors and other surfaces in underground coal mines.

Experts from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health urged a toughening of federal 'rock dusting' standards in reports published in 2006 and 2009. But MSHA officials did not act until another NIOSH report was published this May, a month after 29 miners died in an explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County."

Ken Ward Jr. reports for the Charleston Gazette September 21, 2010.

Source: Charleston Gazette, 09/22/2010