Mining Safety and Health Administration

News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

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

MSHA Update

In a highly-anticipated decision involving two sets of consolidated contest proceedings, the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has affirmed a May 2011 ALJ order that upheld a broad interpretation of MSHA’s...more

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