The Mine Safety and Health Administration has recently set forth new regulatory initiatives that all mine operators should be aware of as we head into the summer of 2016. The following is a list of the initiatives that MSHA is currently undertaking:

Refuge Alternatives for Underground Coal Mines

The comment period closed on January 15, 2016.

Request for Information to Improve the Health and Safety of Miners and to Prevent Accidents in Underground Coal Mines

The comment period closed on June 26, 2015.

Respirable Crystalline Silica

On March 25, 2016, OSHA published its final rule regarding occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The final rule established the new permissible exposure limit of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air (50 ug/m3). In early April the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association and the Georgia Construction Aggregates Association filed a petition in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to review the final rule. MSHA has indicated that a proposed rule with be published in the near future.

Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground Mine

The comment period closed on December 15 2016.

Examination of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines

MSHA has recently indicated that a proposed rule (following the July 2015 PPL) will be forthcoming.

Criteria and Procedures for Proposed Assessment of Civil Penalties

MSHA has indicated that this initiative has moved to the final rule stage. The original comment period closed on March 31, 2015 and MSHA previously stated that a final rule would be published in March 2016.

In addition to these regulatory initiatives, recently MSHA indicated that Rules to Live By IV will be published in the next couple of months. It is expected that MSHA will be targeting standards for both coal and M/NM mines with this initiative. This new version comes more than four years following the release of Rules to Live By III in January 2012. As soon as MSHA publishes this version be aware of targeting enforcement by MSHA for these specific standards.