While mine disasters dominate news headlines, mine workers face a subtle killer in the form of black lung disease, which contributes to the deaths of over 700 U.S. coal miners annually.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) was tasked with developing improved dust monitoring technology to advance the protection of miners from respirable dust that causes black lung.
A key innovation to this effort’s success was the partnership that NIOSH formed with labor, industry, manufacturers, and regulators to develop a continuous personal dust monitor (PDM). As a capstone to this partnership, the personal dust monitor, PDM-3600, was commercialized in 2009. To date, over 200 units have been sold to mining companies, with new government regulations for dust control now requiring the use of this technology.
With NIOSH providing scientific leadership, the other partners contributed their experience and expertise. This partnership, formed in the developmental stages of the work, resulted in substantial stakeholder buy-in and an effective final product.
Jon Volkwein, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Bruce Watzman, National Mining Association
Jeffery Kohler, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Mike Nemergut, Thermo Scientific
Joe Main, U.S. Department of Labor
Dennis O’Dell, United Mine Workers
Joe Lamonica, Bituminous Coal Operators Association