News & Analysis as of

Mine Fatalities: Causes, Prevention, and MSHA Enforcement

A number of fatal mine accidents occurred in the United States between January 1 and September 22, 2014. Coal Mines - - Four underground employees on foot were crushed by equipment in operation. - Two...more

MSHA Assistant District Manager Asserts That Competent Persons Performing Workplace Exams Are Agents of the Operator

At a mining industry safety conference in June, an MSHA Assistant District Manager stated that the agency viewed persons that perform workplace examinations pursuant to 30 C.F.R. § 56.18002 as performing an “agent-like”...more

Miners’ Discrimination Complaints: What’s an Operator to do?

Mine operators across the United States are facing an unprecedented number of miners’ discrimination complaints filed under Section 105(c) of the Mine Act. The rise in discrimination complaints can be partly attributed to job...more

ALJ Rules Mine Operators Do Not Have Right to Perform Pre-operational Examinations of Equipment Prior to MSHA Inspection, Citing...

In an opinion issued on December 10, 2013, Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission Administrative Law Judge Richard Manning ruled that allowing operators to perform examinations of mobile equipment immediately prior...more

Tracking Patterns of Violations in Mines

In the mining industry MSHA enforcement of “pattern of violations” sanctions can be devastating to a mine operator’s business....more

MSHA Demands For Company Files Upheld By Federal Appellate Court

“Congress has given . . . MSHA powerful tools to protect miners. ...more

Escalating Enforcement By MSHA Of Prohibition Against Advance Notice Of Inspection

Section 103 of the Federal Mine Safety Act requires the Secretary of Labor to conduct frequent inspections and investigations at mines....more

MSHA/OSHA Report - May 2013

Escalating Enforcement by MSHA of Prohibition against Advance Notice of Inspection - Section 103 of the Federal Mine Safety Act requires the Secretary of Labor to conduct frequent inspections and investigations at...more

Court Finds Private Person Can Be Held Liable for Negligent Inspection

A private person who inspects a workplace can be held liable for injury or death due to hazards that should have been found and addressed. That is effectively what the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia recently held...more

MSHA Revises Pattern of Violation Criteria

Here is the good news: “MSHA acknowledges…the majority of mine operators are conscientious about providing a safe and healthful work environment for their miners.” So says the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in...more

Labor Letter, March 2013: MSHA's Still Making Its POV List, But No Longer Checking it Twice

Staying Off MSHA’s “Naughty List” - The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently released a Final Rule that significantly changes the way the Agency charged with protecting America’s miners enforces one of...more

MSHA Inspection Failures Poised to Increase Inspection Activities

Two recent news items shine a spotlight on MSHA, its inspection corps, and several publicly acknowledged inspection failures. On February 5, 2013, the W.Va. Supreme Court published a decision that, for purposes of the Federal...more

Patton Boggs Insights - December 2012: Litigation/Courts: Kentucky Man Gets Three Years In Miner Training Scam

A man who passed himself off as a certified mine instructor and lied to MSHA investigators has been sentenced to three years in federal prison....more

Patton Boggs Insights - December 2012: Enforcement: MSHA Impact Inspections

Stepping up enforcement at coal mines with alleged violations relating to respirable coal dust, MSHA targeted 13 operations in September under its impact inspection program that the agency contended had a history of...more

Patton Boggs Insights - December 2012: Enforcement: $950,000 Settlement In Crandall Canyon Mine Accident

The Crandall Canyon Utah coal mine operator agreed to pay $949,351 to settle civil penalties MSHA levied following an accident in 2007 that took the lives of . six miners, followed by the deaths of three additional personnel,...more

Labor Letter, January 2013: Preventing Discrimination Complaints Under The Mine Act: Six Steps To Protect Your Company

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently announced what many mine operators and independent contractors have experienced for the past several years – a heightened focus on, and tremendous increase in, the...more

Patton Boggs Insights - December 2012: Agencies: MSHA Issues New Guarding Guide

MSHA has released a second guidance document dealing with machine guarding in the Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM) sector. At a stakeholders’ meeting in October, the new guide was described as a sequel to one dealing with conveyor belt...more

MSHA/OSHA Report - November 2012

In This Issue: - MSHA Update ..End of Temporary Reinstatement - That Was Not Temporary - OSHA Update ..Wanted: Regulatory Agendas for 2012 Please see full report below for more information....more

End Of Temporary Reinstatement - That Was Not Temporary

Margo Lopez and Denise Giraudo in our Mine Safety Practice Group are to be highly congratulated for an extraordinary victory that favors the entire mining industry. In Vulcan Construction Materials v. Federal Mine Safety and...more

MSHA/OSHA Report - August 2012

In This Issue: Safety and Health Enforcement Developments: - MSHA Update - OSHA Update ..OSHA's Oil & Gas Flame Resistant Clothing Memo Held to Be Improper Rulemaking ..Final Electric Power Transmission and...more

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