April 18, 2019

MSHA Extends Comment Period on Miners' Diesel Exhaust Exposure

MSHA is extending the comment period for its request for information on the exposure of underground miners to diesel exhaust. In response to requests from the public, the agency will now accept comments on the RFI through Sept. 25, 2020. The RFI, which was published in June 2016, seeks information and data on approaches to control and monitor underground miners’ exposures to diesel exhaust; non-permissible, light-duty, diesel-powered equipment in underground coal mines; the maintenance of diesel-powered equipment in underground coal mines; recordkeeping requirements; and more. See the new Federal Register notice for details and instructions on submitting comments.

The comment period for the RFI originally closed on Nov. 30, 2016, after which MSHA and NIOSH convened a “Diesel Exhaust Health Effects Partnership” with the mining industry, diesel engine manufacturers, academia, and representatives of organized labor. The partnership is intended to provide a forum for the exchange of scientific findings related to the health effects of diesel exhaust.

During the partnership’s first meeting on Dec. 8, 2016, stakeholders asked MSHA to open the comment period for the duration of the partnership’s proceedings. MSHA reopened the record for the first time and extended the comment period for the RFI until Jan. 9, 2018. On March 26, 2018, MSHA reopened the rulemaking record for the second time and extended the comment period for one year, until March 26, 2019. The partnership most recently sponsored a Diesel Technology Workshop on Jan. 23, 2019. The workshop focused on the types of advanced low-emissions diesel technologies that are available for use in underground mines. Further details about all of the partnership’s meetings are available on the partnership web page.

MSHA’s latest extension of the comment period for the RFI on diesel exhaust exposure is intended to provide stakeholders an opportunity to review and comment on information presented at the Diesel Exhaust Health Effects Partnership meetings that are anticipated for 2019 and 2020.

More information about the RFI is available on MSHA’s website.