Stakeholders are likely to experience a heavier regulatory burden according to the Fall Regulatory Agenda issued by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

The agency states that, in February, 2016, it will propose a rule on workplace exams. Despite the fact that the agency issued a July guidance on this matter, it is intent on proposing a rule that will: clarify requirements for the exams and abilities of the ‘competent person’ responsible for conducting exams; require new task training under Parts 46 & 48; and specify record-keeping requirements facilitating correction of hazards, and alerting others of conditions.

Also, the agency states that will issue a final civil penalties rule in March, 2016. NSSGA has testified forcefully against major provisions in the proposed rule. While NSSGA is pleased that, in MSHA revisions announced earlier this year, the agency relieved some anticipated compliance burden from several problematic provisions, it still is likely that the final rule will impose unnecessary burdens on operators, thus impeding the cause for safety.

Additionally, the agency reports that in April, 2016, it will issue a rulemaking on crystalline silica, based on the work done by sister agency, OSHA, on health effects of silica, and risk assessment, as appropriate for the mining industry. NSSGA has filed comprehensive comments on the OSHA Crystalline Silica rule, which OSHA’s agenda says will be issued in February. 2016, contending that the current permissible exposure limit for silica is protective when fully complied with and enforced.

Further, the agency notifies in July, 2016, it will propose a rule concerning proximity detection systems in underground mines. The agency asserts that the rule would strengthen protection for underground miners by reducing the potential of pinning, crushing or striking hazards associated with mobile equipment.

Finally, the agency states it will issue a request for information on approaches that would improve the control of diesel particulate matter and diesel exhaust in February 2016.

Direct questions to Joseph Casper at (703) 526-1074 / jcasper@nssga.org.

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