The latest on MSHA’s impact inspection activity

By |  July 13, 2023

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The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) continues to publish the results of its nationwide impact inspections each month, recently noting that it completed impact inspections at 16 mines in May that resulted in 279 violations being issued along with one safeguard.

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

Among the May violations, MSHA cited 83 significant and substantial (S&S) violations. As MSHA describes, an S&S violation is reasonably likely to lead to a reasonably serious injury or illness.

In May, MSHA conducted inspections at mines in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Puerto Rico.

“The Mine Safety & Health Administration is troubled by the fact that our impact inspections continue to discover the same hazards we’ve identified as root causes for many of the fatal accidents that have occurred this year,” says Chris Williamson, assistant secretary at MSHA. “Mine operators are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment and adequate training for their employees. Impact inspections remain an important tool to hold operators accountable and require corrective actions that eliminate hazards that put miners’ safety and health at risk.”

Through five months of the year, MSHA’s impact inspections resulted in 1,193 violations – including 340 S&S violations and 18 unwarrantable failure findings. MSHA says violations designated as unwarrantable failures happen when an inspector finds aggravated conduct that constitutes more than ordinary negligence.

“In addition to enforcement actions, MSHA has issued safety alerts on electrical and slip, trip and fall hazards, and provides educational, outreach and compliance assistance materials to the mining community to emphasize the importance of adequate workplace examinations and training,” Williamson says.

Related: How to prepare for the enforcement blitz of impact inspections

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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 kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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