The accuracy of self-reported regulatory data: the case of coal mine dust

Am J Ind Med. 1984;6(6):427-40. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700060606.


Coal-mine owners are required to measure miner exposures to respirable dust so that compliance with Federal health regulations can be monitored. This study analyzes the problem of possible underreporting of dust exposures. Using two statistical approaches, data for three mining occupations in 54 large underground coal mines during 1976-1978 are examined for evidence of underreporting. First, regression estimates compare dust concentrations reported by coal-mine owners with those reported by government health inspectors. Then, the statistical distribution of concentrations reported by coal-mine owners are examined for the size and nature of their deviation from log-normality. Both approaches suggest widespread underreporting.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational*
  • Coal Mining*
  • Dust*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Probability
  • Regression Analysis
  • Safety


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust