The Metal/Non-metal mining industry has recently experienced what MSHA is calling a dramatic spike in mining-related deaths. Specifically, there were 9 mining deaths in Metal/Non-metal sector in the fourth quarter of 2013 and 9 more since the beginning of this year.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for MSHA, Joseph Main, recently addressed this spike in fatalities in the Metal/Non-metal sector at the recent Special Institute on Mine Safety and Health Law sponsored by the Eastern Mineral Law Foundation and the Department of Labor. Assistant Secretary Main indicated that MSHA would utilize all tools at its disposal to reverse this trend, including increased enforcement. MSHA also recently distributed a news release that echoed Assistant Secretary Main's comments:
"The recent news on the rise in mining fatalities is disturbing," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "We plan to engage all of our tools: enforcement, education and training, and technical support, to respond to this trend."
MSHA also announced that it would convene a stakeholder meeting on May 5, 2014 at its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia to discuss the recent increase in fatalities and the actions needed to reverse the trend.
Based upon the recent comments coming from MSHA, mining operations in the Metal/Non-metal sector can expect the Agency's enforcement efforts to be stepped up considerably, including an increase in impact inspections. Metal/Non-metal operations with questionable or poor compliance histories and/or high rates of injury are particularly susceptible to being targeted by MSHA.