Rising Tides: MSHA Penalties Increase For 2020

Fisher Phillips

Fisher Phillips

No penalty is a good penalty, but many Department of Labor fines just got worse – including those that can be assessed against mining employers. The agency published a final rule that increases the maximum civil penalties that federal agencies can assess against employers. The Federal Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015 mandates this automatic increase based upon inflation.

Penalties issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) did not escape this increase. Any violation of the Mine Act or MSHA regulations that the agency assesses on or after January 15, 2020 will be calculated using these increased amounts. For MSHA, the increase affects all maximum penalties and some minimum penalties.

Effective immediately, penalties will increase by 1.764% and be as follows:


2019 Penalty

2020 Penalty

Regular Assessment

$72,620.00 (maximum)

$73,901.00 (maximum)

Penalty Conversation Table



104(d)(1) Citation

$2,421.00 (minimum)

$2,464.00 (minimum)

104(d)(2) Order

$4,840.00 (minimum)

$4,925.00 (minimum)

103(j) Timely Notification

$6,052.00 (minimum)


Failure to Abate

$7,867 (maximum)

$8,006.00 (maximum)

Smoking Standard

$332.00 (maximum)

$338.00 (maximum)


$266,275.00 (maximum)

$270,972.00 (maximum)

Remember that MSHA applies the penalty increase based upon the date that it assesses the penalty, and not when it issues the penalties.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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