David Zatezalo, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) administrator, and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta recently highlighted that the agency will look to collect $67 million of unpaid fines issued over the last decade.
Known as the MSHA Scofflaw Program, the agency issued 16 citations for failing to pay penalties since 2007. “Ultimately, a more robust Scofflaw Program is about more than collecting unpaid fines. It is about promoting the health and safety of America’s proud miners,” Zatezalo wrote in a March 6 opinion piece published by The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register. “If operators fail to show good faith and arrange to pay their penalties, MSHA will pursue them with every means under the law.”
Secretary Acosta told members of the House Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee that recouping those unpaid fines are a high priority. “Beginning immediately, we are notifying individuals that have not paid their fines – and they need to pay their fines. We have legal methods at our disposal that we can implement if they have not paid those fines.”
The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) said it continues to push MSHA to provide support for compliance, including providing funding for small mines, so that operators and regulators work together to improve safety. The aggregates industry recently achieved a record-low injury rate of 1.74 per 200,000 hours worked. It is the 17th consecutive year that the rate improved.