US mines do not meet POV criteria for fifth consecutive year

By |  November 11, 2019

Logo: MSHA

None of the nation’s more than 13,000 mining operations met the criteria for a Pattern of Violations (POV) for the fifth consecutive year, the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) reports.

The POV provision in the Federal Mine Safety & Health Act of 1977 is one of MSHA’s enforcement tools. MSHA reserves the provision for mines that pose the greatest risk to miner health and safety, particularly those with chronic violation records.

“The Mine Safety & Health Administration remains committed to regular and consistent enforcement of the Mine Act – including issuing Pattern of Violations notices where appropriate – to fulfill its mission to keep the nation’s miners healthy and safe,” says David Zatezalo, assistant secretary of labor for MSHA. “For the fifth straight year, no mine met POV criteria, evidence that mine operators have become more proactive in eliminating safety and health hazards.”

In January 2013, MSHA published its POV rule to strengthen safety measures in the nation’s most hazardous mines. Under the regulation, MSHA may consider mitigating circumstances before issuing a POV notice and encourages mine operators to implement a corrective action program if they are approaching POV status.

MSHA developed two online tools to help mine operators monitor compliance: the POV tool, which alerts mine operators that they are approaching POV status, and should take appropriate corrective actions; and the S&S rate calculator, which enables mine operators to monitor their “significant and substantial” violations.

Between 2011 and 2018, the rate of S&S violations dropped from about 32 percent to 21 percent. MSHA says this is an indicator of safety improvements in mines.

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About the Author:

Joe McCarthy is a former Associate Editor of Pit and Quarry Magazine.

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