Pilot program attempts to reduce mine citation backlog

The Mine Safety and Health Administration announced last week that three of its district offices will participate in a 90-day pilot program to address the agency's backlog of contested citations.

Mine operators can request a conference with MSHA officials to dispute citations, but the conference occurs after penalties have been assessed and contested. The pilot program will allow operators and miners' representatives to discuss and resolve an issue before the civil penalty phase, according to an agency press release.

Congress recently appropriated roughly $18 million to the Department of Labor, along with almost $4 million to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, to help reduce the case backlog, which currently stands at approximately 89,000 citations.

The program begins Aug. 31 at offices in Mount Pleasant, PA; Pikeville, KY; and Birmingham, AL.

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