MSHA’s relationship with the aggregate industry

By |  January 5, 2018

While some aggregate producers describe having a healthy working relationship with Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) inspectors, a number continue to describe their experience with the agency as negative.

Among the words these producers use to describe MSHA inspectors are abrasive, adversarial, uncooperative and unpredictable.

On the bright side, a decent percentage of aggregate producers expects the industry’s relationship with MSHA to improve come 2018. In fact, nearly 35 percent of aggregate producers expect the relationship between the industry and MSHA to improve in the new year.

Having a new administration in place and a nominee for MSHA assistant secretary (David Zatezalo) who has a producer’s background are the top reasons why aggregate producers are confident the relationship will improve.

The industry’s state association directors are even more optimistic about potential gains to be had with MSHA. Forty-six percent of state association directors anticipate the relationship between aggregate producers and MSHA officials within their state to change for the better in 2018. Still, another 38 percent aren’t sure what to expect.

“[Allow] MSHA personnel to speak and attend state association conferences,” says Nick Rodgers, executive director at the Kentucky Crushed Stone Association. “We need to hear from MSHA.”

Steve Rudloff, executive manager of the Missouri Limestone Producers Association, adds that MSHA should focus more on assistance rather than enforcement. To Bruce Chattin, executive director of the Washington Aggregates & Concrete Association, enhancing the relationship with MSHA means having good communications, stressing education, working together and continuing to emphasize a mutual commitment to safety.

“Work together toward compliance goals,” says Steve Trussel, executive director of the Arizona Rock Products Association.

MSHA in a word or two

Aggregate producers describe the relationship between themselves and MSHA officials.

Workable relationship” – a publicly held Gulf Coast and Midwest aggregate producer

Awful. No two inspectors follow guidelines the same.” – a privately held Midwest sand and gravel producer

Partners.” – a privately held West Coast aggregate producer

Strained.” – a privately held Lower Atlantic and Midwest crushed stone producer

Fair and valuable.” – a privately held, nationwide industrial minerals producer

One-sided. MSHA doesn’t listen to producers.” – a publicly held Midwest crushed stone producer

We have a good relationship.” – a privately held Midwest aggregate producer

Information and data for this article derived from Pit & Quarry’s October 2017 State of the Industry surveys for aggregate producers and state association directors.

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