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Silicosis Prevention in Mining 1996 MSHA

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Published on Mar 3, 2012

Silicosis is a disease of the lungs due to breathing of dust containing silica particles. Silica dust can cause fibrous or scar tissue formations in the lungs which reduce the lung's ability to work to extract oxygen from the air. There is no cure for this disease, thus, prevention is the only answer. MSHA published a final rule on dust control for surface highwall drills on April 19, 1994. The rule is designed to protect miners, working on and around surface highwall drills, from exposure to harmful amounts of dust containing crystalline silica. The most common exposures occur during the drilling of rock, crushing, and loading of mine material. Miners operating equipment such as highwall drills, end loaders, dozers and trucks on mine property have a high probability of exposure. Furthermore, all miners working at surface and underground mines are at risk of being exposed to silica-containing dust. Mine operators are required to provide and assure the use of appropriate controls for dust while drilling in rock. Miners should be sure to use all available engineering controls such as dust collectors, wet drilling, drill platform skirts and enclosed cabs. Miners should adjust their work procedures so that they do not stand in dust clouds. While not accepted as a primary control, miners should make use of respirators made available by the mine operator, to provide the maximum protection possible, especially when necessary to work in dust for short periods. If a respirator is used, the miner and mine operator should assure that it is approved for use in silica-containing dust, that it is maintained as approved, worn as designed (not altered in any way), equipped with new filters at least each shift, and fitted so as to provide a tight seal to the face. Miners wearing a respirator can not have beards/mustaches which interfere with the respirator seal to the face. The earliest recorded cases of silicosis date back to the first century A.D. In the mid 1930s, labor secretary Frances Perkins launched a nationwide effort to tackle the problem of silicosis. For more information on silicosis and its prevention, go to the MSHA silica webpage at http://www.msha.gov/illness_preventio... . This clip is from a press video for the 1996 national public education campaign, If It's Silica, It's Not Just Dust, to prevent silicosis. The Labor Department launched the silicosis prevention effort jointly with the American Lung Association and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The entire video is available at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

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