The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published the final rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines on April 9, 2018. The final rule includes updates to the rule that was published on January 23, 2017 based on stakeholder comments and testimony received during four public hearings held in the fall of 2017.
The new final rule, which will be effective on June 2, 2018, requires 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 initiate appropriate corrective action, and promptly notify miners in affected areas of any conditions that may adversely affect their safety or health if the conditions are not corrected right away;
- 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); and
- The record be made available to MSHA and miners’ representatives upon request.
Throughout this process, MAA has shared our thoughts and concerns regarding the proposed rule with NSSGA. At this point, it is believed that the final rule codifies the relatively positive changes proposed in September for a 2018 rule calling for:
- broadening the time in which a competent person could conduct workplace exams from just before the shift to also include the period, “as work begins;” and
- reducing the percentage of hazards found warranting documentation from all – to just those hazards that cannot be promptly abated. MSHA states that “promptly” is defined as “before miners are potentially exposed to adverse conditions.”
While MAA is somewhat pleased with these changes proposed last September, we along with NSSGA believes that the rule simply over-reached by dictating any specific times needed for conducting workplace exams, or documentation requirements.
Click here to be directed to the Final Rule – Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines