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Omission Bias Also Applies to Safety

The welder is preparing to grind the weld on a joint he has just made. He reaches for the face shield and discovers that the once clear plastic has become so pitted and abraded that it has a milky character. He recognizes that the defect makes the face shield more of a hazard than a benefit and since it’s such a small job, he proceeds to grind the joint using safety glasses with side shields as his only eye protection. As he begins to grind, the foreman walks by and observes the job and notes that lack of proper protection – but says nothing. He too recognizes that this is just a brief job – no big deal. As he walks away, he hears a scream. He turns and finds the welder with the grinder thrown to the ground holding his right eye.

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What Information Can Be Obtained During Discovery?

In two recent cases on what information can be obtained during discovery, ALJs have taken different directions – one ruling in favor of an operator and one against. In a case involving inspector’s notes, ALJ Gary Melick said that MSHA over-reached in refusing to turn over inspector’s notes, requested by American Coal Co. during discovery.

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The Balance of Safety

By Randy Logsdon

Just what does “unsafe” mean? The question is a bit rhetorical, so don’t rush to your dictionary. The question is really about what “unsafe” means in context; it’s more than the opposite of “safe.”

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Storm Clouds Forming over MSHA

By James Sharpe

It is a convenient reason for justifying stepped up enforcement in the metal/non-metal sector, but Assistant Secretary Joe Main’s ongoing explanation that Congress made the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) do it, is a canard nonetheless.

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ALJ Dismisses More Than $75,000 in Penalties Where MSHA Submitted Late Filing

By Ellen Smith

In a case that has implications for the entire mining industry, a Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission judge dismissed $75,762 in civil penalties against a mine operator where MSHA failed to timely file with the Commission a routine petition for a civil penalty assessment. Administrative Law Judge Thomas P. McCarthy said MSHA could not establish adequate cause for filing petitions an average of 267 days late.

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