A new action plan is being announced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to address a longstanding situation of employees not meeting theMSHA medical standards established by the Agency and the Office of Personnel Management. Shockingly, some employees have not met the MSHA medical standards for several years.
Under the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidelines, all MSHA inspectors and technical personnel are required to have periodic medical examinations and meet OPM-approved MSHA medical standards as a condition of employment. Medical examinations, including tests for vision and hearing, are required on a periodic basis. During routine reviews the deficiency was initial uncovered. After a more complete review, however, where MSHA reviewed examination results of workers, they determined that approximately 15 to 20 percent of MSHA inspectors and technical personnel did not currently meet the MSHA medical standards. Furthermore, the problem had been growing over the past several years.
The information was passed to The Department of Labor where immediate action was take to develop an effective, consistent, and equitable plan to resolve the issue.
In response, the Agency will implement an individualized assessment process for employees who do not meet the MSHA medical standards. The process will incorporate requirements for reasonable accommodation, resolve issues efficiently and effectively, and be conducted in a consistent and fair manner.The Agency management is completely committed to systematically providing procedures that will enable the current workers to come back into compliance with current medical standards.
MSHA has openly stated that they will be transparent throughout this process. Their goal is to accomplish the compliancy to the MSHA medical standards while being mindful of employees’ privacy concerns. MSHA will work with stakeholders, including the employees’ union, and keep them informed. All parties agree that the action plan is needed and employees with be given the utmost respect and adequate considerations with regard to obtaining their medical clearance.
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