The Wall Street Journal has written an article based upon findings of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicating a rise in the occurrences of black lung in miners. Based upon the findings of NIOSH, approximately 9% of miners with 25+ years of experience were positive for black lung in 2005 and 2006, which represents a doubling of the percentage of those with black lung in the 1990’s. Black lung is serious health and safety issue in mines, even more so than mine accidents, with more than 10,000 dead since 2000, versus less than 400 from mine accidents.
New monitoring equipment may be potentially introduced by MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) to allow real-time, continuous monitoring of an employee’s dust exposure, versus the standard 8-hour periodic exposure monitoring. The real-time monitoring would also take into account longer work shifts, which is quite common in the mining industry.
For more information on black lung, NIOSH has produced a video entitled, Faces of Black Lung
View Part 2 after the break: