MSHA issues internal citation assessment rule

January 7, 2010

A direct final rule from the Mine Safety and Health Administration changes internal regulations to automate the determination of penalty amounts when mine operators fail to immediately report an accident.

Failure to immediately contact MSHA within 15 minutes of learning an accident has occurred is now cited using the following categories:

  • Death of an individual at the mine
  • Injury of an individual that has the potential to cause death
  • Entrapment of an individual that has the potential to cause death
  • Any other accident
Citations for notification failure will identify the type of accident, and an automated system will "assure that the higher penalties required" are assessed based on the assigned category.

The direct final rule was published in the Dec. 29 Federal Register and goes into effect March 29. An identical proposed rule was published at the same time. If significant adverse comments are received by March 1, MSHA will withdraw the direct final rule. However, the agency does not expect opposition to what it considers "nonsubstantive changes."