Mining Industry Seeks Court Review of Coal Dust Rule

By Ross Watzman

According to some in the industry, it seems like the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) overstepped its bounds in its latest attempt to revise the respirable dust regulations. On May 1, the National Mining Association (NMA) filed a petition with the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit seeking judicial review of the MSHA final rule entitled Lowering Miners’ Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors [RIN 1219-AB64 (79 Fed. Reg. 24,813, May 1, 2014); National Mining Association, et al. v. MSHA, No. 14-11942-E (11th Circuit)].

Read more ...

To Report or Not to Report, That is the Question

Breyana PennInjury reporting requirements for mine operators vs. contractors

By Breyana Penn

Read more ...

How to Face a Rising Tide of Safety Whistleblower and Discrimination Complaints

By Avi Meyerstein

A few weeks ago, Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), met with the United Steelworkers at their headquarters in Pittsburgh. He reported on a variety of MSHA initiatives to strengthen and help miners exercise their rights. These include an electronic form for filing anonymous hazard complaints, a one-stop discrimination complaint packet, and online videos about unsafe working conditions and how to refuse unsafe work.

Read more ...

Who Runs the Mine?

By Henry Chajet

In Ayn Rand’s 1957 grand tour of a socialist future, Atlas Shrugged, the railroads, the steel mills, and just about everything government managed, doesn’t run, and most capitalists have been run off and are no longer able to strive for success, costing society its standard of living. Today I ask: who will run the mines in 2017? It was a question I first asked myself after I appeared on January 29 before a United States Circuit Court of Appeals to argue that the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) Pattern of Violations rule was an illegal rule that deprived companies of due process of law, imposing closures based on contested citations, adopted without subjecting the pattern “criteria” to mandatory rulemaking, applied retroactively, and will force an estimated 300 mines to adopt MSHA-approved “mitigating circumstance” programs that include the hiring of personnel and management changes, even though the mandated provisions and details of those plans also did not undergo rulemaking and are not contained in any statute passed by Congress.

Read more ...

(Better) MSHA Inspectors Wanted

Is the quality of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) inspectorate a widespread and growing problem? Yes, according to the Secretary of Labor’s Independent Panel assessment of an internal review of MSHA enforcement actions at Upper Big Branch Mine South.

Read more ...