MSHA publishes final rule on work area examinations

April 11, 2012

​Arlington, VA – A new rule from the Mine Safety and Health Administration requires mine operators to correct hazards and standard violations that pose the greatest risk to underground coal miners.

The rule, published in the April 6 Federal Register, focuses on violations of nine standards, some of which were linked to the April 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia. The standards address ventilation, methane, roof control, combustible materials, rock dust, equipment guarding and other safeguards.

Work area examinations already are required under existing regulations, but the new rule requires mine operators to record corrective action and review citations and orders with mine examiners on a quarterly basis.

MSHA proposed the rule in December 2010 and hosted five public hearings on the subject in 2011.