MSHA launches enhanced ‘Rules to Live By’ standards

By |  June 27, 2016

msha-logoThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) began enhanced enforcement of its “Rules to Live By” Friday, July 1. The “Rules to Live By” is MSHA’s initiative of standards commonly cited following mining deaths.

“While we’ve seen progress in reducing mining deaths associated with both ‘Rules to Live By’ and the exam rule, mine operators need to conduct better site inspections and take appropriate action to improve compliance with these standards,” says Joe Main, MSHA’s assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “That is why we are increasing attention on these critical standards. We urge the mining industry to do the same.”

MSHA first announced plans to enhance its “Rules to Live By” measure at a mining industry stakeholder meeting May 12 in Arlington, Va. Beginning July 1, MSHA will employ its web-based “Rules to Live By” more extensively to determine the number of citations and orders issued during the most recently completed inspection periods for which data is available. Inspectors will provide mine operators with a copy of the results, encouraging them to use the tools to monitor their own compliance and take action to eliminate violations.

MSHA adds that the results will be added to criteria for consideration of impact inspections, particularly targeting mines with elevated noncompliance of these standards.

MSHA launched its “Rules to Live By” outreach and enforcement initiative in 2010, and it published its exam rule in 2012. According to MSHA, the agency’s analysis of hundreds of U.S. mining fatalities in a 10-year period shows that fatalities associated with “Rules to Live By” standards have decreased by an average of 23 percent, and significant and substantial citations and orders issued for violations of these standards have declined by an average of 37 percent.

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