Mining, oil and gas

Pattern of Violations reforms are ‘game changers’ for mine safety, MSHA head says


Photo: Mine Safety and Health Administration

Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Pattern of Violations reforms have been “real game changers” in improving mine safety, agency administrator Joseph A. Main recently announced.

The reforms have helped protect miners, elevate safety cultures and upgrade compliance at “troubled mines,” Main said in an Aug. 11 press release.

A POV notice is given to mines that “pose the greatest risk to miners’ safety and health” and have demonstrated a disregard for worker safety through a pattern of “significant and substantial” violations, MSHA states.

The agency began reforming the POV process in 2010 and issued a final rule in 2013. The number of mines identified in POV screenings has decreased from 51 in 2010 to 12 in 2014 – and one in 2015. In addition, a review of the mine identified in 2015 showed the mine did not meet criteria for further consideration of a POV notice, MSHA states.

Among mines targeted for a POV notice, unwarrantable failure violations declined 82 percent, significant and substantial violations decreased 64 percent, operator-reported rate of lost-time injuries fell 50 percent, and total violations dropped 39 percent since 2010.