MSHA resumes practice of monthly impact inspections

By |  March 28, 2023

The Mine Safety & Health Administration publishes the results of its specially targeted impact inspections at mines online. Photo: Alexandr Baranov/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Editor’s note: This story was updated March 31 based on new information from the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), adjusting the number of violations and safeguards MSHA issued during the first two months of the year. 

The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) is once again conducting its monthly impact inspections at mine sites, resuming the practice at the start of this year and publishing the results of its findings online.

According to MSHA, it conducts impact inspections at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to factors such as poor compliance history; previous accidents, injuries, and illnesses; and other compliance concerns.

MSHA says the impact inspections conducted during the first two months of 2023 resulted in the issuance of 374 violations and two safeguards, including 113 significant and substantial (S&S) and 13 unwarrantable failure findings.

An S&S violation is one that is reasonably likely to result in a reasonably serious injury or illness, the agency says. Violations are designated as an unwarrantable failure when an MSHA inspector finds aggravated conduct that constitutes more than ordinary negligence.

MSHA conducted inspections at mines in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.Logo: MSHA

“These impact inspections uncovered serious violations, demonstrating that they remain an important enforcement tool to address safety and health issues at mines with poor compliance histories,” says Chris Williamson, assistant secretary at MSHA. “The Mine Safety & Health Administration is focused on identifying conditions that can lead to serious accidents given the number of fatalities the mining industry has experienced so far this year. We will continue to use every tool that Congress gave us to protect miners’ safety and health, and we ask the entire mining community to work with us to eliminate safety and health hazards that can cost miners their lives.”

In its press release detailing the latest with MSHA impact inspections, the agency shed light on two specific mining companies: a coal producer in West Virginia and an alumina producer in Louisiana.

According to MSHA, it initiated impact inspections in 2010 following an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia that claimed the lives of 29 miners. From March 2020 through December 2022, MSHA conducted targeted inspections at mines that warranted additional enforcement activity. The agency resumed conducting regular monthly impact inspections in January 2023, and it is now publishing the results on its website.

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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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