MSHA hosts panel discussion on final silica rule

By |  June 4, 2024
Logo: MSHA

Chris Williamson, assistant secretary at the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), moderated a livestreamed panel discussion on how the agency’s final rule for respirable crystalline silica will better protect the health of the nation’s miners.

Issued in April, MSHA’s final rule lowers the permissible exposure limit of respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air for a full-shift exposure. MSHA calculates full-shift exposure as an eight-hour time-weighted average. If a miner’s exposure exceeds the limit, the final rule requires mine operators to take immediate corrective actions to come into compliance.

The panel was made up of current and former miners, mine safety and health experts, labor union representatives and other stakeholders. Panelists included:

• Bob Cohen, executive director at the University of Illinois’ Mining Education and Research Center
• Sam Petsonk, labor and employment law attorney
• Josh Roberts, health and safety director at the United Mine Workers of America
• Dave Dayton, a miner who is a member of the United Mine Workers of America
• Gary Hairston, president of the National Black Lung Association
• Debbie Willis, coordinator of the Black Lung Program
• Lisa Emery, respiratory therapist and director of the Black Lung Clinic

Related: Final crystalline silica rule emerges from MSHA

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About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or

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