MSHA’s Silica Rule

Exploring The Depths Of Bad Rulemaking. By Brian Hendrix On April 18, MSHA published its final rule on respirable crystalline silica (Lowering Miners’ Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica and Improving Respiratory Protection). Two days before the publication, the Acting Secretary of Labor appeared with the Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health and union leaders to announce the release of…

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In California, Are Sand And Gravel ‘Minerals’?

A New California Appellate Decision Broadly Interprets Mineral Rights Reservations In Grant Deeds To Include Sand And Gravel. By Mhare O. Mouradian, MaryBeth Heydt and Destinee Burrell As goes California, so goes the nation? When interpreting general mineral reservations in grants or deeds, California courts have not, until recently, considered sand and gravel – aggregate – a “mineral.” That changed…

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Show Me Your Badge!

Here’s A Story About An Operator Who Called Local Law Enforcement 
On A Field Office Supervisor Who Refused To Present His Credentials. By Brian Hendrix A reader in the industry recently asked me for my take on his practice of asking MSHA inspectors for their credentials. He explained that he asks for an inspector’s credentials, either an authorized representative (AR)…

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MSHA Tackles Social Media

Right Now, MSHA Isn’t Reaching Many People Via Social Media In Any Category, And I Doubt That’ll Change Anytime Soon. By Brian Hendrix Do you follow MSHA on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter? Are you Facebook friends with MSHA? Have you downloaded MSHA’s “Miner Safety and Health App”? If you answered “yes” to any of those…

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MSHA’S New Safety Program For Mobile Equipment Rule

Nothing Says ‘Happy New Year!’ Quite Like A Brand New Regulation From Your Friendly, Neighborhood Enforcement Agency. By Brian Hendrix To close out 2023, MSHA published a new rule, Safety Program for Surface Mobile Equipment. This latest contribution to the Code of Federal Regulations requires all mine operators to develop, implement and update a written safety program for surface mobile…

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Unsafe Acts By MSHA Inspectors?

What Happens When An MSHA Inspector Engages In An Unsafe Act, Violates A Standard Or Refuses To Comply With The Rules? – And Other Questions. By Brian Hendrix Is an MSHA inspector required to sign-in and sign-out like every other visitor to a mine? Is an MSHA inspector required to comply with MSHA regulations requiring personal protective equipment? Is an…

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What Is A “Miners’ Representative”?

The Answer Isn’t Obvious And Would Likely Surprise Anyone Who’s Not Familiar With The Mining Industry. By Brian Hendrix What is a miners’ representative? Are they selected, elected, designated or authorized? How? By whom? Are they affiliated with a union or represent union members? A miners’ representatives must at least be an experienced miner, right? Currently employed as a miner…

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‘Removed From Service’ or ‘Available For Use’

Here Are Some Suggestions Aimed At Reducing Your Liability In These Two Situations. By Brian Hendrix An “evergreen” issue is one that comes up repeatedly and remains relevant over time. Here’s a great example: MSHA inspects a piece of mobile equipment that’s parked on the ready line, but not in service. It has not been examined by the operator. Let’s…

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The Mine Silica Health Administration

It Looks Like MSHA Started With The OSHA Rule And Proceeded To Cut Everything That Looked Even Remotely Reasonable. By Brian Hendrix Way back in 2019, we heard that MSHA intended to put the “H” back in MSHA. MSHA Assistant Secretary David Zatezalo, told Congress that MSHA would to “put the ‘H’ back in ‘MSHA,’” by “aggressively enforc[ing] existing standards…

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