Industry Faces Increased Regulation in 2016

According to the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA), stone producers can anticipate increased regulations from MSHA in 2016, if the agency’s recently released Fall Regulatory Agenda is any indication.

NSSGA regularly shares these agendas with the aggregates industry so that operators are alerted to any impending regulations. NSSGA continually addresses these regulations to ease burdens of compliance when possible so that operators can focus on safety.

The agency states that it will propose a rule on workplace exams in February. Despite the fact that the agency issued a Program Policy Letter on the matter and then eased it in July after receiving comments from NSSGA, it is intent on proposing a rule that will clarify requirements for the exams and abilities of the “competent person” responsible for conducting exams, require new task training under Parts 46 & 48 and mandate substantial increases in the record-keeping and reporting the correction of hazards.

MSHA plans to issue a final civil penalties rule in March. NSSGA has forcefully testified against major provisions in the proposed rule and was pleased that the agency relieved anticipated compliance burdens from several problematic provisions earlier this year. Still, it is likely that the final rule will impose unnecessary burdens on operators and impede the cause for safety.

According to the agenda, MSHA expects to issue a rulemaking on reducing occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica in April that is based on the work done by OSHA. NSSGA has filed comprehensive comments on OSHA’s crystalline silica rule that OSHA expects to be issued in February. The association maintains that the current permissible exposure limit for silica works when it is fully complied with and enforced and contends that OSHA’s proposed exposure limit is not supported by sound science.

According to the agenda, MSHA expects to propose a rule in July concerning proximity detection systems in underground mines in an effort to reduce potential pinning, crushing or striking hazards associated with mobile equipment.

Finally, the agency states it will issue a request for information on approaches that would improve the control of diesel particulate matter and diesel exhaust in February.

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