Zatezalo addresses workplace exams, MSHA training resources

By |  January 3, 2018

David Zatezalo. Photo courtesy of the Wheeling News-Register.

David Zatezalo, the new assistant secretary of labor for the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), discussed several topics related to the aggregate industry in a letter to the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP).

IAAP’s safety committee sent Zatezalo a letter late last year explaining the association’s interest and concerns with the new workplace exams rule, a lack of compliance training coming from MSHA, the state grants program, continuing regional stakeholder meetings and more.

IAAP received a response over the holidays from Zatezalo, a longtime coal producer who indicated to the association that his first mine visit as assistant secretary will be to a metal/nonmetal operation in Colorado. Below are some highlights of Zatezalo’s letter as shared by IAAP:

“You mentioned a few specific issues in your letter, and I will do my best to respond,” Zatezalo writes. “First, regarding the workplace exam rule – as you know, in September 2017, MSHA published a proposed rule to amend the original final rule on workplace exams. The comment period on the proposed limited changes closed on November 13 and MSHA is now considering all comments received, including those submitted by the IAAP.

“Regarding training, I agree wholeheartedly that providing appropriate training resources is an essential way for MSHA to achieve its mission,” he continues. “Maintaining and improving training resources, especially for smaller mine operators, is among my top priorities, and I look forward to working with you and other stakeholders to ensure that the training materials and assistance we provide meets the needs of today’s miners and mine operators.

“Likewise, we are looking closely at the materials on our website with an eye toward better serving our target audiences,” Zatezalo writes. “For example, it is fundamental that operators be able to understand MSHA’s requirements and policies so they can successfully follow them. Historically MSHA’s courtesy links to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) did not always provide the most up-to-date information, so a decision was made to link directly to the source of record, the e-CFR, which is maintained by the Government Publishing Office (GPO). Our technology staff and communications specialists are working on a better solution for integrating policy updates and compliance assistance materials with MSHA’s regulations. This is a long-term ongoing project and I hope we will be able to count on your input. We will be reaching out to you and other stakeholders soon.”

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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

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