West Virginia senator introducing mine safety bill

By |  August 1, 2012

NSSGA reports Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has introduced new mine safety legislation that includes a number of items seen in previous mine safety bills.

Last week, NSSGA reported that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) was developing new mine safety legislation, and he indeed is, but as a co-sponsor along with Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

According to NSSGA, the Rockefeller bill would increase civil and criminal penalties for operators, while subjecting officers, directors and agents to liability for knowing violations of the Mine Act or its regulations. The bill would also redefine a significant and substantial (S&S) violation to mean a violation that could “contribute to the cause and effect of a safety or health hazard if there is reasonable possibility that such violation could result in injury or death.” A new maximum penalty of $150,000 would also be imposed for an S&S violation.

The new bill would also adopt a strong new pattern-of-violations system that codifies several aspects of the proposed rule put forward by MSHA last year; expand MSHA subpoena power to include documents related to investigations and inspections; and provide for a new layer of government accident investigation power by requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services to appoint a panel to investigate any accident causing three or more deaths.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

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

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