Confined Space
News and Commentary on Workplace Health & Safety, Labor and Politics

Monday, April 28, 2003


LEGAL DOESN’T MEAN SAFE: Black lung study casts cloud over coal-dust limits

A rather disturbing article from the Louisville Courier Journal revealing that miners –- both below and above ground -- are still getting black lung disease at alarming rates, even thought they have worked their entire careers at supposedly “safe” or at least “legal” limits of coal dust.
WASHINGTON -- New cases of black lung are developing in miners who have worked their entire careers under federal coal-dust limits that were supposed to prevent the crippling respiratory disease, according to a new study.

Tommie Hall, of Topmost, Ky., worked in mines for 26 years under the dust-control limits. Yet he said he has black lung and has filed a claim with the state.

His breathing is so bad that it takes him 10 to 15 minutes to recover after climbing the single flight of stairs in his house, said Hall, 50.
Dust controls in the mines he worked in were regularly ignored, he said. Miners knew they couldn't complain. ''If you said something, you'd go look for a job,'' Hall said. ''That's the way it is.''
Even more disturbing is that these findings may be underestimated:
The study emphasized that it was limited to working miners and that the X-rays were voluntary. Participation rates in X-rays were low, and data on work experience wasn't consistent, researchers added.

Dr. E. Lee Petsonk, one of the authors of the study, also pointed out that disease rates among retired or sick miners who were forced to leave work weren't included, nor could researchers do much about miners who didn't participate but may have signs of black lung.
As we always say when training workers about chemical exposure limits, "legal does not mean safe." I wonder if the same problems exist for OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits, which are coming up on their 40th birthday?



Go To My Main Page

Google Groups Subscribe to Confined Space
Email:
Browse Archives at groups.google.com




Google
Search WWW Search Confined Space

/div>

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this Blog are my own and do not, in any way, shape or form, reflect or represent the views or policies of my employer. Links to or from other websites of individuals or organizations do not constitute an endorsement of these views.
Looking for Confined Space Safety Information?
Click Here

Google
Search Web Search Confined Space

Greatest Hits


BP Texas City Explosion Stories

2006 Mine Disaster Stories

Popcorn Lung Stories

Speech on Receiving the APHA Lorin Kerr Award
by Jordan Barab, November 9, 2004


Acts of God, Acts of Man," by Jordan Barab, Working USA

Lies, Partisanship Caused Ergo Standard to Crumble, by Jordan Barab, Safety + Health, February 2002

A Week of Death, by Jordan Barab, Hazards, February 5, 2003

Archives


March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007

Recent Posts



FINALIST

Koufax Award

For Best Single Issue Blog of 2003 and 2004