Impact inspections: Are they still a thing?

By |  January 25, 2019
Media: Pit and Quarry


Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) developments, including the agency’s workplace exams rule, the “One MSHA” initiative, and the Scofflaw Program, drove safety-related discussions at this year’s Pit & Quarry Roundtable & Conference in Coral Gables, Florida.

Bill Doran, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins, the national labor, employment and safety law firm, was on hand to address these topics. Doran also offered a brief update on impact inspections, which aren’t publicized by the agency like they were during the previous administration.

Impact inspections continue to happen, though, according to Doran. MSHA no longer publishes inspection details on its website, he says, but impact inspections remain a tool in the agency’s toolbox.

“They’re still happening for a number of reasons,” Doran says. “A company’s S&S (significant and substantial) rate is either above the average, there have been allegations of inadequate workplace exams, or their violation history is sort of out of whack. Those are the elements that produce these impact inspections.”

According to Doran, an impact inspection consists of four inspectors – and, in many cases, a field office supervisor – who essentially engage in a citation-writing contest.

“From everything I’ve heard and, frankly, [MSHA Assistant Secretary] David Zatezalo said at one of the conferences, that he thought impact inspections were still a valuable tool,” Doran says. “I don’t know that they’re happening as often as they were under the previous administration, but they’re still out there.”

For additional MSHA discussion that took place at the 2019 Pit & Quarry Roundtable & Conference, look for our special supplement dedicated to the annual event in the April 2019 edition of the magazine.

Kevin Yanik

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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