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MSHA seeks to amend, delay final rule on examinations in metal, non-metal mines

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Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration is proposing to amend a final rule intended to improve pre-shift examinations of metal and non-metal mines, as well as delay its effective date until March 2, according to separate notices published in the Sept. 12 Federal Register.

MSHA’s proposed changes “would require that an examination of the working place be conducted before work begins or as miners begin work in that place, and that the examination record include descriptions of adverse conditions that are not corrected promptly and the dates of corrective action for these conditions.” The original rule requires that a competent person examine the jobsite before miners start work.

MSHA will host four public hearings on the proposed changes: Oct. 24 in Arlington, VA; Oct. 26 in Salt Lake City; Oct. 31 in Birmingham, AL; and Nov. 2 in Pittsburgh.

Comments on the proposed changes are due by Nov. 13.

The original rule includes the following requirements:

  • Mine operators must quickly notify miners of 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 taken.
  • Records must be available for inspection by MSHA and miners’ representatives.

The rule was scheduled to go into effect Oct. 2, after MSHA chose to extend the effective date to Jan. 23, and later to May 23. The agency is proposing the March 2, 2018, delay to address stakeholder concerns, according to the notice. Comments on the proposed extension are due by Sept. 26.

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