MSHA has put 13 mines on notice due to their persistent record of violations. The mines have repeatedly put their workers at risk and, for the first time since the new Pattern of Violations regulations have been put in effect, MSHA is invoking it’s power to pressure the mines to act. From the MSHA release:
“I have been saying since I arrived at MSHA that the POV (pattern of violations) system is broken,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “This screening represents a positive step forward, but it won’t be the only step. POV is on MSHA’s rulemaking agenda, and there are also statutory changes pending before Congress that would further improve the system.”
Main also noted that the review process is not finished. “Once MSHA completes a thorough auditing, there may be more mines put on notice for a potential POV,” he said. Audits are being conducted at mine operations that appear close to qualifying for a potential POV to track any underreporting of mine accidents and injuries.
The mines have a few options to postpone their punishment:
- Mine operators can choose to institute a corrective action program with concrete, meaningful measures to reduce their S&S violations
- Establish achievable benchmarks and milestones for implementing the program
- Establish management oversight to ensure the program is being instituted and followed
- And implement measures to find and fix the mine’s specific compliance problems.
Mines that implement a corrective action program will be required to meet the prescribed goals within a maximum of 110 days of receiving potential POV notification, depending upon when a corrective action program is submitted to MSHA. If the mines choose not to follow these guidelines, they will have only 50 days to correct all violations before being subjected to restrictions up to closure.
“Along with impact inspections and injunction actions, POV represents an important enforcement method for MSHA to change the behavior of mine operators who don’t take seriously the health and safety of miners,” said Main.
What more do you think MSHA should be doing to punish mines that repeatedly put workers at risk? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Submitted by Andrew Fatato