Considerations to make for your next MSHA inspection

By |  March 22, 2016

Max Corley, an attorney at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, shared a few strategies aggregate producers can use during a Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) inspection at an AGG1 Academy educational session in Nashville, Tenn.

Corley, whose firm is located in Charleston, W.Va., stressed that although MSHA inspectors have “the power” during inspections, mining companies do have rights. And one way mining companies can protect their rights is by taking notes.

“I had a case one time where there was a missing guard, but there was minimal information about it in the inspector’s notes,” Corley says. “The inspector didn’t [write] that the company had already found that area [as a hazard] before the inspection and barricaded it off.”

Such an example is why foremen should take temporaneous notes during MSHA inspections, he adds.

“I tell foremen to take a pad with them, then later take fuller notes,” Corley says. “Don’t wait until a week goes by.”

Foremen should emulate inspector actions too, he says. If an inspector takes notes, foremen should take their own notes. If an inspector takes photographs, foremen should take similar photographs.

“Document where [the inspector] goes and when he goes there,” Corley says. “Document everywhere he travels, who he talked to.”

But keep in mind that anything said to an inspector can be used against a mining company and potentially against an individual. Also, Corley advises aggregate producers not to share notes from inspections with MSHA. Never sign anything MSHA provides either, Corley says.

“They’ll take notes and present that to a miner and ask them to sign,” he says. “I would never advocate signing anything MSHA puts forth.”

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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