DOL Will Issue Final Rule for Examination of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced it will issue its Final Rule for Examination of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines. The new rule will be published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017, and go into effect on May 23, 2017.

The final rule improves miner safety and health in three primary areas, requiring that:

-The examination be conducted before miners are exposed to adverse conditions.
-Affected miners be notified when a hazardous condition is found.
-A record of the examination include the locations examined, the adverse conditions found and the date of the corrective action.

Nearly 250,000 miners work at more than 11,800 U.S. metal and nonmetal mining operations.

Under the existing standards, an examination could be conducted at any time during the shift – even at the very end of the shift – exposing miners to hazardous conditions. Currently, there are no provisions for miners to be notified of the hazards found during the examination, or for noting the hazards found in the examination record.

From January 2010 through mid-December 2015, 122 miners were killed in 110 accidents at metal and nonmetal mines. In 16 of those accidents, MSHA issued citations for the mine operator’s unwarrantable failure to comply with provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.    

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