U.S. Examinations of Working Places in Mines – Compliance Digest
Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines
What is it?
On April 9, 2018, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published a final rule on examinations of working places in metal and nonmetal mines. The final rule includes updates based on stakeholder comments and testimony received last fall during four public hearings.
The rule includes new requirements, but it is less stringent than a previous version of the rule that was first proposed in 2016, and which was supposed to take effect in January 2017. For example, the previous proposed version of the rule would have required mine operators to examine workplaces before work began. The latest version of the rule adds the provision “or as miners begin work in that place”. In the previous version, operators were required to notify miners of all identified conditions, even if those conditions had been corrected before work began. Under the latest version, notification will only be required for conditions that are not corrected.
What are the requirements?
The final rule will require that:
- Each working place be examined at least once each shift for conditions that may adversely affect safety or health of miners before work begins or as miners begin work in that place.
- Mine operators promptly notify miners in affected areas of any conditions that may adversely affect their safety or health and promptly initiate appropriate corrective action. Notification is only necessary when adverse conditions are not promptly corrected before miners are exposed.
- A record of the examination be made before the end of each shift, including the name of the person conducting the examination; the date of the examination; location of all areas examined; a description of each condition found that may adversely affect the safety or health of miners that is not promptly corrected, and the date of the corrective action (when that occurs).
- The record be made available to MSHA and miners’ representatives upon request.
What is next?
MSHA will hold six stakeholder meetings across the U.S. throughout the month of May to provide outreach and compliance assistance materials. The final rule will be effective on June 2, 2018.
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