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MSHA Issues Guidance on POVs


The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a bulletin reminding the mining community of the process for submitting a corrective action program (CAP) for MSHA approval, along with MSHA tools to assist operators in monitoring compliance.

CAP compliance monitoring, they noted, reduces potential violations leading to sanction violations. A CAP, they noted, must be tailored to comply with implementation benchmarks for agency approval. Operators are encouraged to develop and implement CAPs prior to POV screening to avoid Section 104(e) sanctions under 1977’s Federal Mine Safety and Health Act.

In Q1 2013, MSHA published its violations rule revision. Now, operators approaching POV status may implement a CAP, which allows the MSHA to consider an approved CAP as a mitigating circumstance in determining whether to issue a POV notice. Agency representatives conduct POV screening at least once annually.

In accordance with Section 104(e)(1) of the Mine Act, meanwhile, once a mine operator receives a POV notice, and for each subsequent S&S violation, MSHA officials will issue an order withdrawing miners from the affected area until the condition is corrected. MSHA officials, meanwhile, will terminate a POV notice if no S&S violation withdrawal order is issued within 90 days — or when an entire mine inspection is completed minus S&S violations.

“Mine operators should track their violation and injury histories,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “Developing and implementing effective corrective action puts a mine on track to make the workplace safer and healthier; mine operators are responsible for compliance.”

MSHA’s online POV monitoring tool can also assist operators tracking violation and injury histories against screening criteria. MSHA officials, however, say operators should not solely rely on the tool, and should be proactive. An S&S rate calculator, meanwhile, is available to help ensure CAP goals; the MSHA updates the monitoring tool mid-month.