To Report or Not to Report, That is the Question

Breyana PennInjury reporting requirements for mine operators vs. contractors

By Breyana Penn

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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.

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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.

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(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.

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Sago Ruling Overturned by Federal Mine Review Commission

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced that the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has overturned a decision by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Jerold Feldman involving Wolf Run Mining Co.’s Sago Mine in Upshur County, W. Va., where 12 miners died in an explosion January 2, 2006. The commission found that the mine operator’s failure to notify MSHA and mine rescue teams immediately after the explosion involved unwarrantable failure and high negligence.

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