Zatezalo addresses inspector consistency, other MSHA issues

By |  February 11, 2018

David Zatezalo, assistant secretary of labor at the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), outlined his agenda for the agency at a House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) reports.

Zatezalo addressed inconsistencies among MSHA inspectors when questioned by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina). MSHA is working to establish a single, agency-wide opinion when it comes to regulating operations among its 15 different districts, Zatezalo says.

“Historically, and as a former miner myself, MSHA has been typically viewed as a coal-centric organization,” Zatezalo says. “As we move forward, it has to be viewed as more of a mining-centric organization.”

According to NSSGA, Zatezalo and Foxx agree the agency should be able to handle the modern demographics of the industry. There are nearly 10 times as many metal/nonmetal operations than there are coal mines, and there are 240,000 metal/nonmetal employees versus 83,000 coal miners.

Additionally, Zatezalo affirmed in the hearing that small operations will remain a priority for MSHA.

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

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