Federal agencies Legislation Fines/penalties Mining, oil and gas

Proposed MSHA rule aimed at simplifying penalty assessments

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Arlington, VA – Minimum penalties for some mining violations would increase under a proposed rule from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Both the minimum penalty of $112 and the maximum penalty of $70,000 for non-flagrant violations would remain the same, but minimum penalties would increase for violations found to constitute more than ordinary negligence, according to an MSHA press release.

The change is intended to simplify the criteria for assessing health and safety violations, place more emphasis on serious safety and health conditions, and provide a greater incentive for mine operators to proactively address unsafe conditions, the agency said. Additionally, penalty amounts for small metal and non-metal mines would decrease.

The proposed rule is a response to congressional concerns regarding the backlog of contested civil penalty cases and an Executive Order that called on regulatory agencies to review and simplify their regulations.

Comments on the proposed rule are Sept. 29.