NSSGA voices opposition to civil penalties proposal at hearing

By |  December 4, 2014

The first of several U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) hearings on proposed civil penalty changes was held Dec. 4 near Washington, D.C. The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) voiced opposition to a number of provisions in the proposal, which calls for increased federal penalties for alleged mine safety violations and limits an operator’s ability to contest such fines.

“The good work done by both operators and MSHA to boost compliance and enforcement consistency demonstrates that changes in the proposed rule run counter to the agency’s stated goals and are unnecessary,” says Joe Casper, NSSGA’s vice president of safety services. “Arbitrarily increasing fines and eliminating a producer’s due process to respond to these citations will not create safer quarries.”

According to NSSGA, which plans to call on its members to submit comments of their own following the hearings, the rule seeks to reduce operators’ incentives and options to contest, settle and litigate citations. The rule also reduces the range of inspector choices in evaluating mine conditions, says the association, resulting in more severe and costly penalties. According to NSSGA, the rule limits an administrative law judge’s ability to evaluate citations impartially, as well.

A second MSHA hearing is scheduled for Dec. 9 in Denver.

Avatar photo

About the Author:

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

Comments are closed