Mining Safety and Health Administration

News & Analysis as of

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,...more

MSHA Enforcement Trends: Most-Cited Standards of 2015 and Rules to Live By

Mine operators can look to MSHA’s 2015 enforcement data to identify patterns in the most frequently cited safety and health violations, making it easier to avoid costly citations and possible long-term legal ramifications....more

Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources Advisory: DOJ Revs Up the Worker Endangerment Initiative

On March 15, Assistant Attorney General John Cruden provided new insight into the renewed emphasis on criminal prosecution of worker safety laws by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division...more

OSHA Law Alert: Enhanced OSHA/MSHA Enforcement and Penalties On the Way

Two recent developments suggest that employers can expect enhanced enforcement of worker endangerment violations under OSHA and MSHA and increased fines under OSHA....more

Worker Endangerment Initiative May Increase Criminal Prosecutions of Worker and Health Safety Violations

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a Memorandum to all U.S. Attorneys and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Labor on December 17, 2015 to bolster the federal government’s arsenal...more

New "Worker Endangerment Initiative" May Increase Criminal Prosecutions of Workplace Safety Violations

On December 17, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a plan to increase the frequency and effectiveness of criminal prosecutions of safety and environmental violations affecting...more

President Obama Unveils 2016 Energy and Environment Agenda

Last month, the White House released its fall Unified Agenda, which provides a look at the various regulations being developed by each agency and where each is in the rulemaking process. In the energy and environment space,...more

DOJ to Increase and Strengthen Criminal Worker Safety Prosecutions

With the new year comes a new focus on increasing criminal prosecutions against employers for worker safety violations. In the end of December, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced...more

Can I Be Criminally Prosecuted for Violating Federal Safety and Health Regulations?

Earlier this month, a federal jury in West Virginia found Don Blankenship, former Chairman and CEO of the Massey Energy Company, guilty of a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to willfully violate safety and health standards...more

The US Departments of Justice and Labor Announce Expansion of Worker Endangerment Initiative

Just in time for the holidays, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new plan to prosecute crimes that put workers’ health and lives at risk. As explained in the December 17, 2015 press...more

OSHA and MSHA Criminal Prosecutions – DOJ Announces New Procedures After CEO Verdict

On December 17, 2015, the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Labor (DOL) announced a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) to increase the frequency and effectiveness of criminal prosecutions of so-called worker...more

MSHA Increases Scrutiny

If you operate or work at a metal/nonmetal mine be ready for significant changes on how the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will enforce its workplace examination standards.The MSHA recently issued a policy...more

MSHA Workplace Examination “Clarification” Places Enforcement Target Squarely on Operators

Over the years, the Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) has tried on two different occasions to overhaul the workplace examination standard at 30 CFR §56/57.18002 by issuing program policy letters. The agency’s primary...more

Here We Go Again—The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act

For the fourth time since the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion in April 2010, a Congressional bill proposes to further amend the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act...more

Miners & Marijuana

As in other industries, mining companies must contend with employees and contractors using or being under the influence of illegal drugs in the workplace. Marijuana is one of the most prominent substances detected in drug...more

Despite Fewer Citations Issued Since 2008, the Percentage of “Significant and Substantial” Citations Is Holding Steady

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently released mining industry and enforcement data that reflects noteworthy changes the industry has experienced over the last six years. Of particular significance in the...more

MSHA Tackles Rising Metal/Nonmetal Fatalities

Only two months into 2015 and it has already been a busy year for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Last year, MSHA launched “Voice in the Workplace” as an initiative to prompt more involvement by miners in...more

Changing MSHA Penalties: What’s on the Horizon for Mine Operators?

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is in the process of reviewing proposed new civil penalty regulations following multiple hearings in which stakeholders offered their comments. Civil penalties for safety...more

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

OSHA Update: Legal Privileges Can Shield Accident Reports and Safety Audits from Disclosure

Written accident and incident investigations, as well as comprehensive safety and health compliance audits, are essential components of an effective safety and health program. Unfortunately, OSHA has often pursued accident...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

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

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