MSHA: Reforms lead to mine safety improvements

By |  August 12, 2015

The U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) says the pattern of violations (POV) reforms it has enacted have increased mine safety and promoted a culture focused on safety and health.

The reforms have also led to improvements in mine operator compliance, says Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for MSHA.

Under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, MSHA has the ability to issue a POV notice to mine operators who show disregard for safety and health based on the administration’s “significant and substantial” (S&S) violations. According to MSHA, POV notices are given to mines that pose the greatest risk for employee safety and health.

MSHA conducts at least one POV review each year, and it notes that only one mine warranted further review in its most recent screening.

“The POV reforms sent a message that chronic violator behavior would no longer be tolerated,” Main says. “That message translated into a dramatic reduction in the number of mines with chronic violation records. We have also seen significant improvements in violation and injury rates at mines served with a POV notice.”

Since 2010, mines subject to a POV notice or potential POV notice showed improved compliance, according to MSHA. The number of citations issued at those mines declined 64 percent; the number of unwarrantable failure violations decreased 82 percent; total violations fell 39 percent; and the operator-reported rate of lost-time injuries lowered 50 percent.

In order to help mines follow the reforms, MSHA offers a number of online tools, including a POV monitoring tool and an S&S rate calculator.

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About the Author:

Allison Kral is the former senior digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Portable Plants magazine, GPS World magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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