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Final rule on pre-shift mine examinations: MSHA announces public meetings

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Arlington, VA — The Mine Safety and Health Administration has scheduled five public stakeholder meetings on the reinstatement of a 2017 rule that requires a competent person to inspect the workplace before a shift rather than when miners begin work.

Announced in the Oct. 17 Federal Register, the meetings are scheduled for the following cities at the local times listed:

  • Dallas, at 9 a.m. on Oct. 29
  • Birmingham, AL, at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 7
  • Bloomington, IL, at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 12
  • Denver, at 9 a.m. on Nov. 14
  • Pittsburgh, at 9 a.m. on Nov. 21

MSHA reinstated the 2017 rule in accordance with an Aug. 23 mandate from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The agency published a technical amendment in the Sept. 30 Federal Register recognizing the court’s June 11 order, which ruled in favor of petitioners United Mine Workers of America and United Steelworkers. The measure vacates a 2018 amendment to the rule.

 

“Because the 2018 amendment allows miners to work in an area before the examination is completed, there is the likelihood that miners may be exposed to an adverse condition before it is discovered,” the ruling states.

According to an MSHA spokesperson, enforcement of the 2017 rule – including issuance of citations – will begin Jan. 1. In the interim, the agency will provide in-person compliance and technical assistance while expecting mine operators to comply with the 2018 amendment.

MSHA will provide attendees with training and compliance assistance materials at each meeting, the notice states.

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