MSHA Starts Enforcing Workplace Examinations Rule

On Oct. 1, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) began actively enforcing the new requirements under the Workplace Examinations Rule that technically went into effect on June 2, 2018.

Some key differences between the old rule and the new rule can be found on a chart posted on MSHA’s website. They include:

  • Conducting exams at least once each shift, before work beings or as miners begin work in a working place.
  • Recording on the workplace examination form a description of each adverse condition found that is not corrected promptly.
  • Promptly notifying miners in affected areas of such conditions.
  • Recording the date such conditions were corrected.

The rule broadens the time in which a competent person could conduct workplace exams from just before the shift to “as work begins.” It also reduces the percentage of hazards found during exams that warrant documentation to just those hazards that cannot be “promptly” abated. MSHA defined “promptly” as “before miners are potentially exposed to adverse conditions.”

Additional information, including frequently asked questions and sample templates for examinations, can be found on MSHA’s website.

The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) said that while it was somewhat pleased with relatively positive changes proposed last September, the association remains concerned that the rule over-reaches by dictating any specific times for conducting workplace exams or documentation requirements. Moreover, NSSGA remains unconvinced that the agency ever credibly demonstrated a need for changes to the decades-old workplace exams rule. 

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