Jackson Kelly PLLC

Workplace Safety and Health News Alert


May 27, 2019

By: Laura E. Beverage

For clients and friends of Jackson Kelly PLLC
Volume 15, Number 3
©2019 Jackson Kelly PLLC

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs released the Spring 2019 semi-annual regulatory agenda for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) on May 22, 2019. 

In the Pre-Rule Stage for MSHA:

  • A request for information (“RFI”) on respirable Crystalline Silica to both the coal and metal/nonmetal mining operations. MSHA will seek information on the best and most feasible ways to protect miners’ health from exposure, including reduction of the permissible exposure level (“PEL”) and/or use of protective equipment and/or technical and educational assistance. 
  • Retrospective Study of Respirable Coal Mine Dust Rule.  MSHA is charged with conducting a study to determine the rule’s effectiveness in protecting miners’ health. MSHA is seeking stakeholder comments, data, and information to assist in developing the framework of this study to determine the impact of the rule on lowering exposures and improving miner’s health given the latency between exposure and the disease.

MSHA’s Proposed Rule Stage:

  • Regulatory Reform of Existing Standards and Regulations: Electronic Detonators.  MSHA’s first action in improvement and effectiveness by accommodating advances in technology and innovation will focus on the use of electronic detonators in metal/nonmetal mining.  This review of regulatory streamlining and improvement is on-going and comments regarding regulatory reform will continue to be accepted.
  • Alternatives to Petitions for Modification for non-permissible surveying equipment. MSHA has encouraged comment on existing regulations for which MSHA typically approves petitions for modification.  As a result, MSHA will consider rulemaking on the use of non-permissible surveying equipment in underground coal mines.  The review is on-going and comments regarding regulatory reform will continue to be accepted on existing regulations that could be revised to include alternatives to current safety standards.
  • Surface Mobile Equipment (including powered haulage) Safety Programs.  In addressing fatalities since 2007 involving mobile surface equipment and conveyor belts, MSHA will issue a proposed rule regarding a safety program for powered haulage at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines.  MSHA will hold meetings across the country through the summer.

MSHA’s Final Rule Stage

  • A Limited Reopening of the Record for Refuge Alternative for Underground Coal Mines.  Guided by a U.S. Court of Appeals decision, MSHA re-opened the record for comment regarding the frequency of “hands-on” training, decision-making, and expectations training for miners to deploy and use refuge alternatives in underground coal mines.  MSHA has reviewed and addressed the comments and will publish its course of action in the Federal Register by the end of June 2019.

For additional information or guidance, feel free to contact any of the Jackson Kelly PLLC Workplace Safety and Health Practice Group professionals.

Denver, Colorado

Responsible Attorney
Karen L. Johnston

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