MSHA increases civil monetary penalties

On Jan. 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule in the Federal Register that increases Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) civil monetary penalties by 1.764 percent.

Name/DescriptionMine Act Citation2019 Minimum Penalty2019 Maximum Penalty2020 Minimum Penalty2020 Maximum Penalty
Regular Assessment30 CFR 100.3(a) $72,620 $73,901
Penalty Conversion Table30 CFR 100.3(g)$135$72,620$137$73,901
Minimum Penalty for any order issued under 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.4(a)$2,421 $2,464 
Minimum penalty for any order issued under 104(d)(2) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.4(b)$4,840 $4,925 
Penalty for failure to provide timely notification under 103(j) of the Mine Act39 CFR 100.4(c)$6,052$72,620$6,159$73,901
Any operator who fails to correct a violation for which a citation or order was issued under 104(a) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.5(c) $7,867 $8,006
Violation of mandatory safety standards related to smoking standards30 CFR 100.5(d) $332 $338
Flagrant violations under 110(b)(2) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.5(e) $266,275 $270,972

MSHA publishes final rule for electronic detonators

On Jan. 14, 2020, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published a direct final rule to revise safety standards for explosives.  The rule updates existing provisions consistent with technological advancements involving electronic detonators at metal and non-metal mines.  A companion rule provides a procedural framework to finalize the rule if it receives enough adverse comments to withdraw the direct final rule. More information can be found at https://www.msha.gov/regulations/rulemaking.

Fatality Alert: Mechanic dies performing maintenance

MSHA issued a fatality alert regarding a lockout/tagout incident. Photo courtesy of MSHA.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a Fatality Alert for LafargeHolcim’s Holly Hill Facility in Orangeburg County, S.C. A contract maintenance mechanic was performing elevator maintenance when the car descended, crushing the mechanic against an elevator platform. The person died at the scene on Dec. 3, 2019.

MSHA offers the following best practices to help prevent this type of accident:

  1. De-energize, lock out and tag out, and block machinery or equipment that can injure miners – before entering the area.
  2. Post warning signs or barricades to keep miners out of areas where health or safety hazards exist.
  3. Install an audible alarm to warn of impending equipment movement.
  4. Evaluate and correct possible hazards promptly before working.
  5. Train personnel in safely using handrails and fall protection equipment during maintenance and construction activities. Ensure their use.

This is the 22nd fatality reported in 2019, and the seventh fatality classified as Machinery.