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Total Articles: 44

New Interim Leader of MSHA Appointed

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta recently announced his appointment for the new interim Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Wayne D. Palmer, who was formerly chief of staff to Secretary Acosta will serve as acting head of the agency until the confirmation of a Trump administration nominee as assistant secretary. He will also serve as the agency’s deputy assistant secretary.

For Third Straight Year, No Mines Eligible for a Pattern of Violations Notice

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced that, for the third consecutive year, none of the nation’s more than 13,000 mining operations met the criteria for a Pattern of Violations (POV) notice, which would trigger a temporary ceasing of operations.

Mine Safety Agency Re-Launches Annual Program to Prevent Roof and Rib Fall Accidents

The Mine Safety and Health Administration said that it is re-launching its annual Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program (PROP) to expand awareness among coal miners and mine operators of roof and rib fall hazards.

Mine Safety Agency Issues Serious Accident Alert on Safe Handling of Chemicals

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a serious accident alert on handling dangerous chemicals, recommending best practices.

Mine Safety Agency Launches ‘Training Assistance Initiative’ for Miners with Less Experience

Recent coal-mining deaths have prompted the Mine Safety and Health Administration to launch a voluntary “training assistance initiative” for miners with less than one year of experience in mining or in their current job, MSHA has announced.

MSHA Extends Effective Date of Final Rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines to October 2, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced on May 22, 2017, that it is extending the effective date of the agency’s Final Rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines until October 2, 2017. This is the second extension of the rule’s effective date; MSHA’s initial extension was made earlier this year. According to MSHA’s press release, this extension will “allow additional time for MSHA to provide training and compliance assistance for its stakeholders.”

Mine Safety Agency Issues Close Call Accident Alert after Structural Failure

The Mine Safety and Health Administration issued a “close call accident alert” after a structural failure at a sand and gravel mine.

Challenge to Mine Safety POV Rule Stayed for Settlement Talks

Mine Safety Agency Issues ‘Close Call Alert’ Related to Surface Power Lines

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a “close call alert” after a tractor trailer contacted an overhead ground wire after dumping a load of gravel, causing significant damage, but no injuries.

Mine Safety Agency Issues Alert to Prevent Fall Accidents

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert on preventing accidents at mines from miners falling.

The MSHA Quarterly Stakeholder Conference: Workplace Examination Rule and Working Alone Initiative

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) held its quarterly stakeholder teleconference on April 25, 2017. The call served three purposes: (1) It provided an update to the timeline of the agency’s final Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines rule, amending 30 C.F.R. Sections 56.18002 (surface) and 57.18002 (underground). (2) It discussed several recent fatalities and injuries suffered by miners working alone and suggested best practices for avoidance of known hazards in this context. (3) It reviewed first quarter serious injuries and fatalities in both the coal and metal/nonmetal sectors.

Mine Safety Agency Issues Blasting Equipment Alert

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert advising employers to take precautions when storing, handling, transporting, and using explosives and detonators in underground coal mines near energized equipment or electrical systems. These include communications and tracking system infrastructure, electronic components worn or carried by miners, and the like.

Mine Safety Agency Releases Accident Alert for Surface Trucks in Metal, Nonmetal Mining Industry

The Mine Health and Safety Administration has released a serious accident alert in the wake of an accident involving a haul truck driver in the metal and nonmetal mine industry.

Mine Safety Agency Issues Alert on Falls at Metal and Nonmetal Mines

After the deaths of 29 miners over the past decade from falls in metal and nonmetal mines, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert on reducing the risk of dangerous falls, reminding employers of best practices.

MSHA Proposes to Extend the Effective Date for the Workplace Examination Final Rule to July 24

On March 27, 2017, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a proposed rule to delay the effective date for its Final Rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines from May 23, 2017, to July 24, 2017. The May 23 effective date of the final rule will remain in place until MSHA’s proposed rule becomes final.

Mine Safety Agency to Award Up to $1 Million in Grants for Education, Training

The Mine Safety and Health Administration will award up to $1 million in new grants for education and training programs to help identify, avoid, and prevent unsafe working conditions at mines in the United States as part of a plan in place since 2006.

Mine Safety Agency Issues Alert after Mining Deaths

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a “fatal accidents alert” after two separate mining accidents claimed the lives of two miners within a 24-hour period. The alert lists best practices to avoid accidents.

MSHA Moves Forward with May 23 Implementation of Workplace Examination Final Rule

On January 23, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued its Final Rule for Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines. In light of the White House’s regulatory freeze on new rules, questions have arisen as to whether the effective date for this final rule would be delayed 60 days, into July.

Mine Safety Agency Announces Final Rule for Examination of Working Places in Metal, Nonmetal Mines

Examinations of working places should be conducted before miners begin work in those places and miners should be notified of hazardous conditions found during examinations, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced in a final rule amending existing standards to improve the quality of working place examinations in metal and nonmetal mines. The final rule takes effect on May 23, 2017.

Mine Safety Agency Issues Alert on a Brake Release System

The Mine Health and Safety Administration has issued a “safety hazard alert” on the dangers involved when the parking brake of a high-volume, brake-release pump, the A.L. Lee Corporation Man Trip Model RRB-15V, was unintentionally released and went “into a runaway condition.”

Mine Safety Agency Issues Safety Alert on Machinery

Noting that 51 coal miners have been fatally injured in accidents involving machinery and powered haulage equipment over the past six-and-a-half years, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has released “Take Pride in Your Ride,” a safety alert focused on machinery.

MSHA Publishes the New Workplace Examination Final Rule

On January 23, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will publish in the Federal Register a Final Rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines, amending 30 C.F.R. § 56.18002 (Surface) and § 57.18002 (Underground). The final rule contains major amendments to the existing standards that will impose substantial administrative burdens on mine operators and create new risks of heightened enforcement against operators and supervisors.

Mine Safety Agency Issues Hand-Injury Advisory

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued an advisory warning to mine operators and employees about the dangers of hand injuries.

Record Low Number of Mining Deaths in Fiscal Year 2016, Mine Safety Agency Reports

Fiscal year 2016 saw a record low number of mining deaths, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has reported. The agency also continues to encourage the mining community “to reach zero mining deaths.”

Mine Safety Agency Issues Electrical Safety Alert

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued an electrical safety alert after several miners were injured in underground coalmine accidents.

Mine Safety Agency Issues Hazard Safety Alert from for Truck Vacuum Operations

Static electricity during vacuum operations can result in accidents such as shock hazards, explosions, and secondary injuries from falls due to shock, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has warned in a safety alert for vacuum trucks.

Mine Safety Regulators Issue Seat Belt Alert

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert urging miners to buckle their seat belts while operating mobile equipment.

Mine Safety Agency Warns of Equipment and Machinery Dangers

In the wake of three deaths over the past year involving mine equipment and machinery, the Mine Health and Safety Administration has issued a safety alert to prevent mining accidents: “Blocking Against Motion.”

Mine Safety Agency Issues Alert for Water-Related Fatalities

Working around, over, or near water is a safety hazard that may result in entrapment and drowning, the Mining Safety and Health Administration has warned in a hazard alert.

41% Increase in Citations to Mine Operators

Special impact inspections in July that covered 13 states resulted in 161 citations, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced. This is a 41-percent increase from the 114 citations issued the previous month.

Mine Safety Agency Extends Comment Period on Controlling, Monitoring Diesel Exhaust Request for Information

The public will have until November 30, 2016, to submit comments on the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Request for Information on the agency’s strategies for controlling and monitoring exposure of underground miners to diesel exhaust.

Respirable Coal Dust Samples Prove New Dust Rule Is Achievable, Mine Safety Agency Announces

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced that 99 percent of the coal mine dust samples collected from April 1, 2016, through June 30, 2016, were in compliance with its coal mine dust standards requiring lower levels of dust. It said that this proves the “significantly positive impact” of its coal dust sampling rule, published in 2014.

Mine Operators Face Conundrum over MSHA’s RFI on Diesel Exhaust

The mining industry faces a conundrum over the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Request for Information (RFI) for industry data and experiences accumulated by underground mine operators over the past 15 years. MSHA’s diesel particulate matter (DPM) rules require operators to maintain the information.

Mine Agency Focuses Attention on Workplace Exams, Diesel Exhaust Exposure

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has rolled out two initiatives: a proposed rule increasing requirements for workplace examinations that, MSHA says, is aimed at curbing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM) miners, and a Request For Information (RFI) on approaches to reduce the potential for adverse health effects from exposure to diesel exhaust in miners who work underground.

Mine Commission Upholds Safety Agency’s Demand for Records in Split Decision

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld a judge’s decision favoring the government over a Western Kentucky coal operator who had refused to honor a directive to provide federal authorities with a roster of its employees. However, two commissioners dissented, asserting the government trampled on the operator’s constitutional rights. Sec’y of Labor – MSHA v. Warrior Coal, LLC, Docket Nos. KENT 2011-1259-R, 2011-1260-R and 2012-705 (May 17, 2016).

MSHA Issues New Workplace Exam Proposed Rule

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced today that it was issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking that will amend the Workplace Examination regulation at 30 C.F.R. § 56.18002 (Surface) and § 57.18002 (Underground). The amended regulation, “Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines,” will add new recordkeeping and training requirements for operators that will potentially expand enforcement liability for supervisors on mine property. The proposed rule will require (1) that a competent person conduct a workplace examination before work is conducted in a working place; (2) that an examination record be completed before the end of each shift; (3) that mine operators promptly alert miners regarding any identified hazardous conditions; and (4) that the examination record include a description of locations examined, conditions found, and corrective actions taken. MSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor Joe Main announced the proposed rule at a stakeholders meeting at the agency’s Arlington, Virginia headquarters this morning. The proposed rule would not change the definition of “competent person” and “working places.”

A whole new workplace exam: MSHA proposes major changes

At a stakeholder meeting today at its Arlington, VA headquarters, MSHA announced dramatic new changes to requirements that metal/non-metal mine operators conduct workplace examinations each shift. The official publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register will launch a 90-day comment period that will include four public hearings around the country. Mine operators are sure to weigh in with concerns over the potential risks, challenges, and costs created by the rule. Read on for a full summary and analysis…

Citing Mine Inspector’s ‘Animus,’ Judge Softens Tough Enforcement Action

Convinced that the tough enforcement action brought against a West Virginia coal operator by an inspector for the Mine Safety and Health Administration was influenced by a long-standing grudge the inspector held toward the operator’s foreman, a judge has reduced the seriousness of some alleged violations, thrown out others, and cut the proposed penalty by 73 percent.

Mine Safety Agency Rolls Out New Fatality Prevention Initiative

Noting that 2015 was the safest year ever in the U.S. mining industry, the Mine Safety and Health Administration nonetheless has rolled out a new safety initiative, Rules to Live By (RTLB) IV.

Mine Accident Investigation Facts Not Subject to Attorney Privileges, ALJ Rules

According to at least one administrative law judge, neither the work product privilege nor the attorney-client privilege allows an Arizona metal producer and its contractor to withhold factual information gathered during the companies’ investigation of a fatal mine accident from their regulatory authority.

Elevated Fine Lacks Justification, Mine Safety Agency Attorney Concedes

A government attorney agreed with opposing counsel that the Mine Safety and Health Administration had not justified a proposed 127 percent increase in fines against an Illinois coal operator. The two sides disagreed, however, on the remedy to correct the situation.

Mixed Results Seen in Mine Safety Agency’s February Impact Inspections

Two coal mines in Appalachia received no citations while four other coal operations in that region, along with an Indiana cement plant, were tagged with alleged infractions in the double digits by the Mine Safety and Health Administration during an impact inspection sweep in February. Ten coal mines and five metal/non-metal facilities in nine states were visited during the month.

'Attended' Does Not Require Being Inside Drill Cab, Mining Commission Affirms

A drill operator need not to be inside the cab of his drill at all times to comply with a mine safety standard stating that drills in operation “shall be attended at all times,” the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has ruled, upholding a judge’s ruling vacating citations against contractor Drilling and Blasting Systems, Inc. (D&B). Sec’y of Labor v. Drilling and Blasting Systems, Inc., No. SE 2012-510-M (Feb. 22, 2016).

Mining Safety Agency Issues Hazard Alert on Pipe Safety

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued an alert calling attention to hazards associated with handling plastic pipe at Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM) mines.
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