Search form

For Third Straight Year, No Mines Eligible for a Pattern of Violations Notice

By Carla J. Gunnin
  • August 7, 2017

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced that, for the third consecutive year, none of the nation’s more than 13,000 mining operations met the criteria for a Pattern of Violations (POV) notice, which would trigger a temporary ceasing of operations.

MSHA said its screening period ran from July 1, 2016, until June 30, 2017.
“A number of mine operators have proactively implemented corrective action programs to address specific hazards at their mines to improve miner safety and health, and those efforts are paying off,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Patricia W. Silvey. “Throughout the year, MSHA works with mine operators and miners to identify and correct recurring hazards.”

One of MSHA’s toughest enforcement tools, the POV provision in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 is a designation that MSHA can assign to mines that pose the greatest risk to the health and safety of miners, particularly those with chronic violation records.
The Mine Act authorizes MSHA to issue a POV notice to mine operators that demonstrate “a disregard” for the health and safety of miners through “a pattern of significant and substantial violations.” Based on the Mine Act, MSHA issues withdrawal orders to mines that receive POV notices, requiring mines to temporarily cease operations until the violation is abated for all significant and substantial, or “S&S,” violations.
In January 2013, MSHA  published its final POV rule to strengthen safety measures in the nation’s most dangerous mines, allowing MSHA to consider mitigating circumstances before issuing a POV notice and encouraging mine operators to put in place a corrective action program if they are approaching a POV.
In recent years, MSHA noted that it has developed two online tools to help mine operators monitor compliance. One is the POV monitoring tool, which alerts mine operators that they meet the screening criteria for a POV and should take appropriate corrective actions. The second is the S&S rate calculator, which allows mine operators to calculate a mine’s S&S rate for a specific range of dates.
Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist employers to understand federal regulatory activities and maintain a safe work environment.

©2017 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

August 23, 2017

Mine Safety Agency Implements Medical Standards Action Plan for Inspectors, Technical Personnel

August 23, 2017

The Mine Safety and Health Administration will implement an action plan for employees who do not meet the agency’s medical standards.   As a condition of employment, MSHA inspectors and technical personnel must undergo periodic medical examinations, including vision and hearing tests, and meet medical standards set by the Office... Read More

August 23, 2017

OSHA Schedules Second Public Meeting on Voluntary Protection Programs

August 23, 2017

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has scheduled the second of two meetings to “reshape” the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) for August 28, 2017. The first meeting was held on July 17, 2017. OSHA established the VPP on July 2, 1982, to promote cooperation between government, industry, and labor to improve worker... Read More

August 16, 2017

Mine Safety Agency Issues Alert on Wire and Hoisting Ropes

August 16, 2017

Saying new testing on wire and hoisting ropes showed they “no longer met MSHA’s in-service standards,” despite previously passing tests and inspections, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a new safety alert on wire and hoisting ropes. MSHA said that, although it had previously conducted wire rope nondestructive... Read More

Related Practices