ARLINGTON, VA – Of the nation’s 13,000 mining operations, none met the screening criteria for a Pattern of Violations (POV), one of the toughest enforcement tools used by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The announcement follows MSHA’s most recent screening, covering the period from Feb. 1, 2019 to Jan. 31, 2020. This was the sixth consecutive screening that resulted in no POV notices. The last screening covered the period from Sept. 1, 2018, to Aug. 31, 2019. Under MSHA regulations, MSHA conducts POV screenings “at least once each year.”
MSHA reserves use of the POV provision – established in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 – for mines that pose the greatest risk to miners’ health and safety, particularly those with chronic violation records.
“Safety and health is what we care about most at the Mine Safety and Health Administration. It’s what miners care about, it’s what miners’ families care about and we can see it’s what mine operators care about,” said MSHA Assistant Secretary David G. Zatezalo. “We’ll issue Pattern of Violations notices when we need to, but it’s a good feeling to look at the screenings and see no mines meeting the criteria.”
In January 2013, MSHA published its POV rule to strengthen safety measures in the nation’s most dangerous mines. Under the regulation, MSHA may consider mitigating circumstances before issuing a POV notice and encourages mine operators to implement a corrective action program if they are close to meeting the POV screening criteria.
MSHA provides two online tools to help mine operators monitor compliance: the POV tool, which informs mine operators how they rate against the screening criteria and should take appropriate corrective actions; and the S&S rate calculator, which enables mine operators to monitor their “significant and substantial” violations. Between 2011 and 2019, the rate of significant and substantial violations dropped from approximately 32 percent to 20 percent, an indicator of safety improvements in mines.
WASHINGTON, DC – A direct final rule revising safety standards for mining explosives has gone into effect, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced. Published Jan. 14, 2020, the rule updates existing standards to incorporate technological advancements involving electronic detonators at metal and nonmetal mines.
Learn more about MSHA rulemaking and regulations.
MSHA works to prevent death, illness, and injury from mining and to promote safe and healthful workplaces for U.S. miners. MSHA carries out the provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act) as amended by the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006. The agency develops and enforces safety and health rules for all U.S. miners regardless of size, number of employees, commodity mined, or method of extraction. MSHA also provides technical, educational and other types of assistance to mine operators.
Respirable Quartz and Dust Fell to All-Time Low
ARLINGTON, VA – There were 24 mining fatalities in the U.S. in 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reports. This is the fewest annual fatalities ever recorded, and only the fifth year in MSHA’s 43-year history that mining fatalities were below 30. MSHA is still reviewing two cases of possible chargeable fatalities which, if added would make the total in 2019 the second lowest number of fatalities ever recorded. Continue Reading»