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DOL/MSHA RIN: 1219-AB36 Publication ID: Fall 2021 
Title: Respirable Crystalline Silica 

Many miners are exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) in respirable dust.  These miners can develop lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and various forms of pneumoconiosis, such as silicosis, progressive massive fibrosis, and rapidly progressive pneumoconiosis. These diseases are irreversible and may ultimately be fatal. MSHA’s existing standards limit miners’ exposures to RCS.  MSHA will publish a proposed rule to address the existing permissible exposure limit of RCS for all miners and to update the existing respiratory protection standards under 30 CFR 56, 57, and 72.

Agency: Department of Labor(DOL)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 30 CFR 56    30 CFR 57    30 CFR 60    30 CFR 70    30 CFR 71    30 CFR 72    30 CFR 75    30 CFR 90   
Legal Authority: 30 U.S.C. 811    30 U.S.C. 813(h)    30 U.S.C. 957   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

Many miners are exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) in respirable dust, which can result in the onset of diseases such as silicosis and rapidly progressive pneumoconiosis. These lung diseases are irreversible and may ultimately be fatal. MSHA is examining the existing limit on miners’ exposures to RCS to safeguard the health of America’s miners. Based on MSHA’s experience with existing standards and regulations, as well as OSHA’s RCS standards and NIOSH research, MSHA will develop a rule applicable to metal, nonmetal, and coal operations.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Sections 101(a), 103(h), and 508 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act), as amended (30 U.S.C. 811(a), 813(h), and 957).


MSHA will examine one or two different levels of miners’ RCS exposure limit and assess the technological and economic feasibility of such option(s).

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

To be determined.


Miners face impairment risk of health and functional capacity due to RCS exposures. MSHA will examine the existing RCS standard and determine ways to reduce the health risks associate with RCS exposure.

Action Date FR Cite
Request for Information (RFI)  08/29/2019  84 FR 45452   
RFI Comment Period End  10/28/2019 
NPRM  05/00/2022 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Local, State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Jessica Senk
Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances
Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration
201 12th Street S, Suite 401,
Arlington, VA 22202
Phone:202 693-9440