MSHA Completes May Impact Inspections

The U.S. Department of Labor announced that its Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) completed impact inspections in May at 15 mines in 12 states, leading the agency to cite 300 violations and one safeguard.

The agency began conducting impact inspections after an April 2010 explosion in West Virginia at the Upper Big Branch Mine killed 29 miners.

MSHA’s impact inspections since 2023 have identified 3,880 violations, including 1,088 significant and substantial (S&S) violations and 68 unwarrantable failure findings. An S&S violation is one that could contribute in a significant and substantial way to the cause and effect of a safety or health hazard. Violations designated as unwarrantable failures occur when an inspector finds aggravated conduct that constitutes more than ordinary negligence.

The agency conducts impact inspections at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to poor compliance history; previous accidents, injuries, and illnesses; and other compliance concerns. Of the 300 violations MSHA identified in May 2024, 62 were evaluated as S&S and five had unwarrantable failure findings. The agency completed these inspections at mines in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

MSHA inspected plants owned by Buzzi Unicem, Holcim and others.

“The results of this month’s impact inspections highlight the need for mine operators to focus continually on thorough and effective mine examinations. These examinations are one of the most important tools that can be used to keep miners safe and healthy,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “Mine operators must remain vigilant in conducting required examinations and establish a safety culture in which miners are encouraged to identify hazards, the hazards are corrected, and corrective actions are recorded.”

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