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MSHA proposes rule aimed at better pre-shift mine examinations

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Miner --- Oct2013

Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a proposed rule intended to improve the quality of workplace examinations in metal and non-metal mines.

Proposed changes would emphasize proactive safety measures at mines instead of relying on existing standards that do not require pre-shift examinations or prompt notifications, MSHA stated.

The proposed rule includes the following requirements:

  • A competent person must examine the jobsite before miners start work at the location.
  • Mine operators must quickly notify miners of any conditions that could harm their safety or health.
  • A competent person must sign and date the examination record before the end of every shift; the examination record should include a description of the locations examined, conditions found and, if applicable, the corrective actions that were taken.
  • Records need to be available for inspection by MSHA and miners’ representatives.

MSHA plans to conduct four public hearings on the proposed rule:

  • July 19 in Salt Lake City
  • July 21 in Pittsburgh
  • July 26 in Arlington, VA
  • Aug. 4 in Birmingham, AL

Better worksite examinations could have prevented many mining fatalities, MSHA chief Joseph A. Main said in a press release.

“MSHA has proactively provided notices to the mining industry on the need to improve mine site examinations, but now the time has come to require better, more effective examinations,” Main added.

Sixty miners have died since October 2013, and 122 miners lost their lives from January 2010 to mid-December 2015, according to MSHA. More than 60 percent of the fatalities were linked to Rules to Live By standards.

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