Updated Rock Dusting Standards


In mines, rock dust, most commonly pulverized limestone, is spread on all underground surfaces to prevent coal dust from mixing with methane and spontaneously combusting. Until 2010, mine safety laws required that intake airways maintain a level of at least 65% incombustible content be maintained to prevent explosions [1]. Following the explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine in April 2010 that killed 29, the worst in American history since the 1970's, MSHA published an emergency temporary standard (ETS) for rock dusting standards. Their updated recommended guidelines raised the level of incombustible content in intake airways to 80% from the previous standard of 65% incombustible content [2]


  1. United States, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor. (2011). Maintenance of Incombustible Content of Rock Dust in Underground Coal Mines (Vol. 76, Ser. 119, pp. 35968-35978)
  2. Berg, D. (2014, October 9). Development of a New Hydrophobic Rock Dust. Coal Age. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://www.coalage.com/features/3948-development-of-a-new-hydrophobic-rock-dust.html#.WD8rodIrK71