MSHA Announces PDS- Sampling Notice

On April 8, 2016, MSHA notified underground coal mine operators of an interference problem between proximity detection systems (PDS) and respirable dust sampling devices when both devices are in use at the same time. MSHA has observed that dust sampling devices function properly. Mine operators who do not have proximity detection systems are not affected by this notice; dust sampling must continue at these mines (and, as will be discussed, at all underground coal mines) as required by MSHA’s final respirable coal mine dust rule... Read more

2016 MSHA Regulatory Initiatives

Robert Huston Beatty, Jr. | Contact Bob

Jason M. Nutzman | Contact Jason

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... Read more

MSHA chief notes dramatic accomplishments, challenges in mine safety

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main highlighted the measurable improvements that have taken place in mine safety and health in the past five years. His remarks came at the 2016 National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s annual convention... Read more

US Labor Department announces final rule to improve U.S. workers’ protection from the dangers of ‘respirable’ silica dust

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a final rule to improve protections for workers exposed to respirable silica dust. The rule will curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America’s workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica... Read more

Notice to Coal Operators Regarding Respirable Dust Sampling and Proximity Detection

Because of a recently discovered interference problem between proximity detection systems and respirable dust sampling devices, MSHA is temporarily delaying its own respirable coal mine dust sampling, and the requirement that coal mine operators conduct respirable coal mine dust sampling, in areas where both the sampling device and the proximity detection system are used at the same time... Read more

MSHA announces results of February impact inspections

The Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced that federal inspectors issued 146 citations and six orders during special impact inspections at 10 coal mines and five metal and nonmetal mines in February... Read more

MSHA inspectors issue 47 citations to metal/non-metal mines during February impact inspections

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently announced that federal inspectors had issued 146 citations and six orders during special impact inspections in February. Forty-seven of those citations went to metal/non-metal mines, including one aggregate operation and two cement plants... Read more

April is one of the Deadliest Months in the Metal and Nonmetal Mining Industry

The beginning of spring in the metal and nonmetal mining industry signals the startup of mines that were idled during the winter months. Often when these operations recommence, they begin with new employees who are new to the mining environment. The new workforce, along with miners performing unfamiliar tasks, has resulted in the month of April being the second deadliest month in the MNM mining industry with a total of 50 fatals since 2000... Read more

Preliminary MSHA data indicate 2015 was safest year in mining history

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today released preliminary data for calendar year 2015, updating the “Mine Safety and Health at a Glance”page. The charts include information on inspections, violations and number of mines and miners... Read more

MSHA Stakeholder Meeting 4/25/16

On Monday, April 25, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to Noon ET the Mine Safety and Health Administration will hold a stakeholder meeting with mining industry leaders for Coal and Metal and Nonmetal. The meeting will cover safety briefings, an update to Rules to Live By and the exam rule, and other topics. The meeting will be conducted in-person at MSHA’s Arlington, Virginia headquarters and online via a webinar and teleconference. More specific meeting logistics will be issued closer to the date... RSVP here

MSHA Quarterly Training 4/27/16

On Wednesday, April 27, 2016 from 12:30pm to 1:30pm EDT, MSHA will be conducting its Quarterly Training call. During the call, MSHA will review the mining deaths that occurred in coal and metal and nonmetal mines during the last quarter ending March 31, 2016, as well as discuss recent near misses. There will also be some time for your questions and comments. The call in information will be made available closer to the date of the call. The call will be recorded and the audio will be posted afterwards. Early that morning, the meeting materials will be made available on the MSHA Training Center. If you have any questions about the upcoming call, please contact JR Wycinsky at (202) 693-9422 or at wycinsky.david@dol.gov... RSVP for the call here

Metal/Nonmetal Serious Accident

Surface Traprock – A loader operator was travelling down a 14% sloped roadway in a small articulated open-station loader which was equipped with ROPS and a seat belt. The operator was cleaning a shallow drainage ditch and rebuilding the washed-out berm behind the ditch... Read more

Metal/Nonmetal Near Miss Accident

Surface Limestone Quarry – A dozer operator was pushing overburden on a waste pile when the dozer slid down the pile over 125 feet. The dozer came to rest within 25 feet of the impounded water below. The 75 year old miner, who was wearing his seat belt, was successfully rescued after several hours with no life threatening injuries... Read more

Metal/Nonmetal Near Miss Accident

Surface Limestone – A miner was in the basket of a raised man lift working near a stacker conveyor belt when his right arm became entangled in the head pulley. The victim was transported to a local hospital but doctors were unable to reattach his arm... Read more

Metal/Nonmetal Serious Accident

Surface Dredge - A miner was preparing to move the floatation platform. While standing on the platform and adjusting the lift chains, the miner stepped back into the uncovered 3’ X 3’ opening for the turbine water pump falling against the side breaking his ribs and puncturing a lung... Read more

Stockpile Accidents Safety Alert

During calendar year 2015, seven dozers were involved in stockpile accidents. Most of the accidents involved the dozer falling into a hidden cavity created when material “bridged” over a feeder and material beneath the bridge was withdrawn... Read more

Selected Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission Cases 

Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Company, Inc., KENT 2011-0041-R (Mar. 22, 2016) (ALJ Gill)

In 2010 an employee of a contractor was involved in a non-fatal accident when the haul truck the employee was operating lost its brakes and ran down a haul road and crashed into a berm. MSHA issued an enforcement action to the operator of the mine... Read more

Gina Hacking v. Staker & Parson Companies, WEST 2014-931-DM (Apr. 1, 2016) (ALJ Simonton)

Hacking filed a Section 105(c)(3) discrimination complaint against Staker & Parson in August 2014 alleging that she was terminated based upon a workplace injury, gender, and safety complaints that occurred prior to 2011... Read more

Stone Plus, Inc., WEST 2013-0263-M et. al (Apr. 5, 2016) (ALJ Gill)

ALJ Gill addressed the issue of whether MSHA had jurisdiction over a small mine when the operator alleged that the mine was closed pursuant to 30 C.F.R. Section 56.1000. ALJ Gill noted that the mine failed to file the appropriate closure notice with MSHA as required by 30 C.F.R. Section 56.1000 and thus MSHA was not on notice that the mine was closed and therefore retained jurisdiction over the mine... Read more

Aggregate production up in fourth quarter of 2015

Construction aggregate production was up by about 8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, and the industry saw rises across the board. According to the United States Geological Survey, crushed stone and construction sand and gravel both saw increases in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year prior... Read more

Secretary of Labor v. The American Coal Company

On Wednesday, April 20, 2016, at 10:00 am the Commission will hear oral argument in the matter ofSecretary of Labor v. The American Coal Company, Docket Nos. LAKE 2011-701, et al.  The issues in this case include whether the Judge erred by not requiring that the Secretary prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the amounts of proposed penalties based on special assessments were appropriate.  The argument will take place in the Richard V. Backley Hearing Room, Room 511N, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004.  An open decisional meeting on the case will take place on Thursday, April 21, 2016, at 10:00 am at the same location.