Monday, August 6, 2012

MSHA Rule Took Effect Today: Underground Coal Mine Operators Must Identify, Correct Hazardous Conditions

MSHA's final rule, Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines for Violations of Mandatory Health or Safety Standards, which was published April 6, 2012, became effective today, Aug. 6, 2012. The rule requires mine operators to identify and correct hazardous conditions and violations of nine health and safety standards that pose the greatest risk to miners.

The nine standards address such issues as ventilation, methane, roof control, combustible materials, rock dust and equipment guarding. According to MSHA, these standards are the types of violations cited as contributing to the cause of the deadly Upper Big Branch Mine explosion that occurred in April 2010. A memorial to the 29 miners who died in that explosion was dedicated last week in West Virginia.

"These repeated violations expose miners to unnecessary safety and health risks that should be found and corrected by mine operators," says Joseph Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The final rule, effective today, will increase the identification and correction of unsafe conditions in mines earlier, removing many of the conditions that could lead to danger, and improve protection for miners in underground coal mines."