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Approval Available for|Coal Mine Air Tester

WASHINGTON (CN) - A monitor capable of giving immediate readings of concentrations of respirable coal dust was finalized April 6. Extensive testing of the new technology has been complete since 2006. Current monitors to test the air require a lab to measure the results, with a turn around of days.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has revised the requirements used by the agency and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to approve updated lab-readable air sampling devices, and has established requirements for the new type of device, called a "continuous personal dust monitor."

Immediate readings would allow mine operators to respond more quickly to high dust exposures, evaluate causes of overexposures, and implement and adjust control measures. The monitors also provide information that may give early warning of deteriorating dust controls to mine operators, allowing corrective action before the dust control system fails.

This rule address device approval but not compliance issues, such as how the new monitor will be used, who would be required to wear it and when it would be worn.

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