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Recent MSHA Outreach with Metal/Nonmetal Stakeholders

By Joseph A. Main

One of my initiatives when I arrived at MSHA was to get out into the mining community and meet with our stakeholders to share what we are doing at MSHA and discuss how we could improve mine safety and health.

We have attended many stakeholder events across the country since then. Working with our stakeholders, we have undertaken numerous initiatives that have improved MSHA enforcement consistency, mine operator compliance, and mine safety and health. These efforts have, coupled with other actions, been highly successful.

Read more: Recent MSHA Outreach with Metal/Nonmetal Stakeholders

VPID Formula Skews Fines for Small Operators

By Ellen Smith

In a decision rejecting the way MSHA determines penalties, ALJ Michael Zielinski essentially threw out MSHA’s use of “violations per inspection day” for small operations, stating that the federal agency’s formula skews the violation history of small mines, and can lead to higher penalties.

Read more: VPID Formula Skews Fines for Small Operators

MSHA Touts Record-Low Fatality, Injury Rates

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced the release of final data for 2012 that indicate the lowest fatality and injury rates in the history of U.S. mining, along with the lowest rate of contractor fatalities since the agency began calculating those rates in 1983.

Read more: MSHA Touts Record-Low Fatality, Injury Rates

Two Birds, One Stone

By Randy Logsdon

Don Wilson was the featured keynote speaker for day two of the New Mexico Mine Health and Safety Conference on May 8. Wilson is the vice president of SafeStart, a commercially marketed injury prevention system.

Read more: Two Birds, One Stone

ALJ Vacate Drilling Citations, Citing an Unreasonable Interpretation

By Ellen Smith

MSHA’s interpretation of a drilling standard is erroneous, not worthy of deference, and would lead to extraordinarily dangerous results, according to a recent ruling by Review Commission Judge Pricilla Rae. The case involved MSHA’s interpretation of §56.7012, which requires that drills be “attended” at all times. The dispute centered around the meaning of “attended.”

Read more: ALJ Vacate Drilling Citations, Citing an Unreasonable Interpretation