MSHA’s Main weighs in on examination guidance, ‘Rules To Live By’

By |  November 24, 2015

Pit & Quarry had the opportunity to ask Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), about the agency’s latest preparatory mine emergency efforts and the status of proposed amendments to the civil penalty regulation. Main also weighed in on other mine safety- and health-related areas during our recent interview:

On MSHA’s other top objectives: “We have had town hall discussions in the Southeast in a number of mining sectors. We’ve done these on a number of things, from fall protection to using an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standard as meeting compliance. Also, we’ve discussed a ladder safety program we launched a little over a year ago to help provide guidance, as well as hazard communication. [We’re examining] what else is out there, like a guarding issue that we can do better.”

On examination guidance: “We just had a good discussion with the Southeast mining industry because there’s confusion about what we’re doing. We need to have people doing constant examinations. We did not issue any new requirements. It was restating a person’s requirement of the rule. The message went to the mining industry, which we helped to clear up. Nothing has changed under that rule. We’re looking harder if we find a lot of violations or hazardous conditions that should have been caught by the exam rule. We’re going to be paying attention to this. There needs to be improvements.”

On the “Rules to Live By” initiative: “We cite those standards most often when there’s a fatal accident. We [previously] launched a program – a decade look at mining deaths and what’s riding to the top as the leading causes of those. We added new tools to those three or four months ago. Now, you can punch in your identification number on our “Rules to Live By” tool. It will tell you where [you] stack up in regard to the rest of the mining industry. If you show up in the red, it identifies you as on the wrong half of the mining industry.”

Avatar photo

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

Comments are closed