On June 7th, 2016, stakeholders met at the United States Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration headquarters in Arlington, VA to discuss, among other items, reform in workplace regulations for metal and non-metal mining. The new MSHA Requirements proposal is paramount to improving safety and transparency in the workplace. They Include:
- Making all workplace examinations readily available to miners
- Pre-work exams
- Detailed and signed exam notes, to be made on a daily basis, by mining operators
- Prompt notice to all miners assigned to work areas which may be considered adverse
While this top-down proposition for reform in the MSHA requirements proposal does affect a more dynamic system of notice and coverage for employees in the mining workplace, the larger question is exactly how do these changes affect day-to-day policy for miners and mining operators. Does the mandated pre-work exam and detailed daily report place a higher onus of liability on the mining operator? Do the daily examinations create a precedent for an employee-review system, based on citations?
MSHA representatives assert that, at the heart of this reform, is the goal of accident prevention, stating that, “Effective working place examinations are a fundamental accident prevention tool.” Of the 122 mining fatalities in the past five years, MSHA believes that “many of these fatalities could have been prevented with better working place examinations.” The correlation being made by MSHA between workplace accidents and an inadequate system of examination and review is the underpinning for reform that they hope will reduce otherwise avoidable injuries in the mining community.
Once the MSHA proposition is published to the Federal Register, a 90-day comment period will commence, wherein all members of the mining community can voice their concerns in any of four public hearings.
These recently proposed reforms will undoubtedly affect the mining workplace. One way to stay up-to-date with any new MSHA requirements or regulations is to take an approved MSHA training course and certification program. You can take your New Surface Miner Training or your MSHA Annual Renewal courses right here, online from the comfort of your home from one of the world’s most trusted organization.