On May 12, 2016 the Mine Safety and Health Administration rolled out Rules to Live By IV. This follows prior initiatives that came out in February 2010 (Fatality Prevention), November 2010 (Preventing Catastrophic Accidents), and January 2012 (Preventing Common Mining Deaths).

According to Secretary Joe Main, “MSHA’s Rules to Live By Program was an initiative started in 2010 to prevent mining deaths by focusing on the most commonly cited standards that have caused or contributed to fatal accidents in the mining industry. The initiative encompasses industry outreach and education components combined with enhanced enforcement efforts.” Nevertheless, Secretary Joe Main is reemphasizing Rules to Live By with an emphasis on eliminating illumination hazards and preventing roof falls.

MSHA reviewed fatality information following each implementation of the Rules to Live By imitative. Following Rules to Live By I there was a 20% reduction in fatalities; an 80% reduction in fatalities following Rules to Live By II; and a 43% reduction in fatalities following Rules to Live By III.

Similarly, MSHA has noticed a 12% reduction in standards cited as S&S after implementation of Rules to Live By I; a 45% reduction in standards cited as S&S after implementation of Rules to Live By II; and a 67% reduction in standards cited as S&S after implementation of Rules to Live By III.

Finally, MSHA has found a 10% reduction in all enforcement actions after implementation of Rules to Live By I; a 31% reduction in all enforcement actions after implementation of Rules to Live By II; and a 69% reduction in all enforcement actions after implementation of Rules to Live By III.

MSHA indicated that violations of all of the Rules to Live By Standards will result in enhanced enforcement action to include impact inspections. Mine operators can track their results by reviewing MSHA’s Rules to Live By Calculator which has been updated on MSHA’s website. If an operator’s rate is higher than the national average operators should expect an impact inspection.

Rules to Live By IV includes a regulatory standard for both coal and metal/nonmetal operators. These standards are 30 C.F.R. Section 77.207 for coal which addresses illumination and 30 C.F.R. Section 57.3201 for metal/nonmetal which addresses location for performing scaling. These two new standards have been cited as a result of at least five mining fatalities during a 10 year period from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2015.

Enhanced enforcement for Rules to Live By IV will begin July 2016 and MSHA has posted online training for this initiative at http://arlweb.msha.gov/distance/rlb%204/index.html.