Groups propose MSHA program similar to VPP

May 11, 2011

Washington – Mining industry representatives recently called for the Mine Safety and Health Administration to implement an initiative that would exempt mines with good safety records from mandatory inspections.

Testifying May 4 before the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Workforce Protections Subcommittee, Anthony S. Bumbico, vice president of St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc., advocated for a program similar to OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs.

By law, MSHA must inspect all underground mines once every quarter, unlike OSHA, which does not have to inspect every workplace.

Bumbico recommended focusing on teaching miners to identify risks instead of regulatory compliance and injury.

Much of the hearing focused on inconsistencies in MSHA citations, although Cecil Roberts, president of the Triangle, VA-based United Mine Workers of America, said attention should be focused on passing legislation to help prevent mine disasters.