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MSHA Enforcement Efforts Target Safety Programs

One of the hallmarks of good safety policy is the ability of anyone, from rank-and-file miners to the CEO, to pay attention to unsafe conditions and take action to address those conditions or actions and ensure they do not recur. The corrective action might involve recording the condition in a required book or record, tagging out a piece of equipment, taking disciplinary action, and sometimes, if the company is conscientious, using meetings, posters and handouts to describe the problem and provide information to try and prevent it from happening again.

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Invalid Dust Citations?

By Henry Chajet, Brian Hendrix, Avi Meyerstein and Ross Watzman

During 2014, scientific experts repeatedly reviewed the accuracy of dust sampling and analysis procedures used by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to support overexposure allegations. According to our review of their testimony, the agencies are unlikely to be able to carry their burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the results are accurate and reliable and, standing alone, justify a violation of a regulatory dust limit.

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The Iron Law & MSHA

The Iron Law & MSHA

By Brian Hendrix

The Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) primary purpose, as stated by Congress, should be the same as all in the mining industry, to protect “the health and safety of [our] most precious resource, the miner.” However, like all bureaucratic organizations, MSHA is subject to the Iron Law of Bureaucracy. When MSHA works to violate the Iron Law or simply resists its inexorable pull, MSHA works for the health and safety of the miner. When it complies with the Iron Law, MSHA works for MSHA.

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Administrative Law Judge’s Ruling May Impact MSHA’s POV Determinations

By Linda Otaigbe

This has been an interesting year for the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) Pattern of Violations (POV) rule. The authority for creating the POV rule originates from the Mine Act, which authorizes the secretary of labor to “make such rules as he deems necessary to establish criteria for determining when a pattern of violations of mandatory health or safety standards exists.”

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MSHA Imminent Danger Orders for Violations by Independent Contractors Will Require Stronger Contract Provisions

By Nickole Winnett and Breyana Penn

Recently, Administrative Law Judge Thomas McCarthy for the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, confirmed that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has unfettered discretion to issue an imminent danger order against a mine operator for its independent contractor’s violations of the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and MSHA regulations. (See Cloverlick Coal Company LLC v. MSHA).

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