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MSHA to use new procedures to reduce contested citations backlog

December 7, 2011

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Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration on Dec. 1 announced new procedures aimed at reducing the backlog of violations being reviewed by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

The new procedures will allow mine operators to request a conference with local MSHA staff on a contested citation or order before MSHA has assessed a penalty. Currently, operators and miners’ representatives in most MSHA districts may request a conference only after MSHA has proposed the penalty; settlements require FMSHRC approval.

The new procedures are based on a pilot program (.pdf file) that found a high resolution rate among mine operators that requested pre-assessment conferences.

Beginning in January 2012, each MSHA district will determine when to implement the procedures based on its available resources, the agency said.

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