MSHA has posted a safety alert (http://www.msha.gov/Alerts/RCMMSolenoidAlert42013.pdf) to call attention to damaged solenoids that have led to inadvertent movement of remotely controlled continuous mining machines (CMMs). The solenoids, associated with hydraulic valve banks, became damaged after contact with a trailing cable after the cable was flexed. Read more »
The government has launched an investigation into a breathing device used by mine workers after a malfunction was reported in four units at one mine.
In a notice posted to its website April 19, MSHA said it had joined with NIOSH to investigate Ocenco M-20 self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs) after a malfunction was reported to it. The malfunction involves Ocenco SCSRs manufactured in 2008.
A court in New Zealand has convicted the operator of a coal mine where 29 miners died in an explosion in November 2010 on all counts it faced over the tragedy.
Pike River Coal was convicted last week in Greymouth District Court on nine charges, including four for failing to ensure the safety of its employees and four for failing to ensure no employees, contractors or subcontractors were harmed while working at the mine.
A former boss at the Upper Big Branch-South Mine has been ordered to surrender his assistant underground foreman’s license for three years in an agreement that settles accusations he shut off his methane detector while conducting safety examinations, including on the day of the fatal April 2010 explosion.
A salt miner died early Wednesday after being injured at North American Salt Co.’s underground Cote Blanche Mine in southern Louisiana.
At 11:55 p.m., Tuesday, Michael Charles, 59, was on top of a skip performing maintenance with two other miners when a piece of salt fell and struck him, according to MSHA's preliminary report. Charles, a shaftman, had nearly 33 years' service at the mine.
The family of a veteran miner killed in a massive roof collapse inside an Idaho silver mine two years ago has filed a lawsuit against the operator.
Larry “Pete” Marek was killed in a cave-in deep inside Hecla Limited’s Lucky Friday Mine near Mullan. Marek was buried under 30 feet of rock, and rescuers needed nine days to recover the body of the 53-year-old miner following the accident in April 2011.
Besides the Idaho-based company, its CEO along with six company managers and engineers were named in the litigation, according to the Spokane Tribune-Review.
Elongated mineral particles (EMPs), the kind of particles found at mining sites in many parts of the country, are under a microscope in Minnesota, both figuratively and literally.
A $4.9 million study in part aims to determine whether or not EMPs are behind any of 80 cases of mesothelioma observed among former Iron Range workers employed in the taconite industry in the state.
Funding for mining safety and health research remains flat in NIOSH’s proposed fiscal year 2014 (FY 14) budget.
NIOSH’s Office of Mine Safety and Health Research will receive $52.4 million if the budget is approved, the same amount as provided in the last enacted federal budget, which was in FY 12. The money does not include another $9.8 million under the mining research line item for what the budget identifies as business support services.
A massive landslide measuring several thousand feet in width and height has damaged facilities and equipment and closed the huge Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah.
Officials of Kennecott Copper Utah, LLC said they had anticipated the slide Wednesday evening at the mine in Salt Lake County after monitoring equipment first detected movement in the northeast wall in February. According to a news media report, employees said movement increased to eight inches just before the slide.
Edward E. Lopez has announced his retirement as manager of MSHA’s South Central Metal/Non-Metal District, effective April 19. Lopez has taken a position with copper giant Freeport-McMoRan at its surface copper mine in Morenci, AZ. There is no word on a replacement.
Charlie Carpenter has retired as manager in Coal District 4 (D4), Mt. Hope, WV. His replacement reportedly is D. Scott Mandeville, currently the Assistant District Manager for Technical Support in D12, Beckley. Lincoln Selfe, Jr. is acting manager until Mandeville moves into the position.
OSHA has acknowledged in its $570.5 million budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 (FY 14) that it plans to include lower permissible exposure limits (PELs) for crystalline silica in general industry and construction.
OSHA’s proposal, unveiled Wednesday, represents a $5.7 million increase over the last enacted budget in FY 2012. Increases were proposed in the whistleblower program ($6 million), enforcement ($32,000) and in safety and health standards ($2.1 million). There are offsetting decreases in other program areas.
MSHA will end all state grants funding and cut funds for coal plan approvals and from the Small Mines Consultation Program (SMCP) while seeking an increase of $6.4 million for its enforcement programs and regulatory initiatives in a $380.7 million fiscal year 2014 (FY 14) budget proposal released today.
A Pennsylvania coal operator must pay a $110,000 fine after being found guilty of a flagrant violation in a ruling that has further muddled how the “repeated failure” language of the flagrant provision in the MINER Act should be interpreted.
An administrative law judge (ALJ) has upheld a special assessment against an Alabama coal operator and a fine imposed upon one of its foremen following an incident in which three underground rail cars broke free and nearly struck a miner while travelling out of control for three-quarters of a mile.
ALJ William Moran brushed aside arguments raised by Oak Grove Resources, LLC challenging the validity of an order an MSHA inspector issued for violation of a 19-year-old safeguard at its Oak Grove mine.
The year 2012 was the safest ever regarding injuries and fatalities in the U.S. mining industry, according to preliminary data released today by MSHA.
Production at Consol Energy’s Blacksville No. 2 Mine remains on hold as company officials continue to try and bring the underground coal mine back on line after a fire was detected more than three weeks ago.
Company spokeswoman Lean Seay said late Wednesday that federal and state authorities and the union were implementing a plan approved earlier in the day by federal and state officials and the local union to examine a portion of the mine.
A Kentucky coal operator’s effort to rid itself of a nettlesome coal miner has ended in failure.
In a 12-page decision released today, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an administrative law judge’s 2012 decision reinstating miner Charles Scott Howard to his position as an underground face worker at Cumberland River Coal Co.’s (CRCC) Band Mill No. 2 Mine. In that decision, ALJ Margaret Miller also imposed a $30,000 fine, $10,000 above what MSHA had proposed.
MSHA and the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) agree that the mine safety agency has made progress on improving its coal mine roof control plan process since the Crandall Canyon accident but differ somewhat on OIG’s findings that shortcomings remain.
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Current Regulatory Agenda
Proposed (P) Final (F)
(F) Pattern of Violations Issued Jan '13
(F) Prox Detect Devices:CMMs May '13
(F) Respirable Coal Dust Jun '13
(P) Prox Detect Devices UG Jul '13
(P) Civil Penalties Jan '13
(P) Legal Identity Not. Jul '13
(P) Silica Aug '13
(P) Testing Fees Aug '13
(F) Update Signage Mar '13
(F) Coop. Agreements Apr '13
(F) Update NAICS May13
(F) Confined Space Construction Jul '13
(F) Slips, Trips, Falls Aug '13
(P) Silica May '13
(P) Inj/Ill Reporting May '13
(P) Combustible Dust Oct '13
(P) I2P2 Dec '13
- Coal 9
- Aggregates 3
- Other M/NM 6
- Coal 19
- Aggregates 10
- Other M/NM 6
- Coal 21
- Aggregates 8
- Other M/NM 8
- Coal 48
- Aggregates 9
- Other M/NM 14