Making sense of the ‘One MSHA’ initiative

By |  February 6, 2019
Photo: Bill Doran


The Mine Safety & Health Administration’s (MSHA) “One MSHA” initiative has the agency on a path to operate as a single mine safety organization – not one in which some inspectors focus on coal while others are dedicated to metal/nonmetal.

The initiative is already underway, as MSHA leaders seek to improve the agency’s efficiency.

“It was unbelievable the amount of travel that some metal/nonmetal inspectors were having to make to go to a mine,” says Ed Elliott, a senior advisor to MSHA Assistant Secretary David Zatezalo. “They might have to travel five or six hours one way to do an inspection while there might be a coal office that’s 30 minutes away.”

With nearly 12,000 metal/nonmetal mines and about 1,100 coal mines across the United States, MSHA’s rationale is it makes sense to consolidate inspectors under one umbrella.

The agency’s transition, however, will likely produce challenges.

“You might say, ‘Well that makes sense because they’re all dealing with a particular provision of the Mine Act, Section 110(c),'” says Bill Doran, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins, the national labor, employment and safety law firm. “But the reality is when they’re looking at the underlying facts, they’re looking at the regulations, [and] that’s where there’s a disconnect.”

Additional inspector training is needed if the consolidation is going to work, Doran adds.

“They’re applying their understanding of how that should work at a coal operation,” he says. “That’s where you start having problems.

Avatar photo

About the Author:

Comments are closed