The US mining industry can expect a bit of a shakedown as the mining regulatory agency proposes a new rule that will help to close down mines with health and safety violations faster.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration will be able to monitor and identify mines which have a pattern and history of violations and be able to enforce punitive measures against such chronic offenders with the help of the new rule.
Joseph A. Main, assistant U.S. secretary of labor for mine safety and health said that the current pattern-of-violation system was broken, and this regulation was the next critical step in reforming the enforcement program under the existing statute.
The MSHA came under considerable criticism after the Upper Big Branch coal mine had a fatal explosion in April last year. The reluctance to use full authority to regulate the mines was seen as a major contributing factor to the death of the miners.
The United Mine Workers of America also lent support to the new rule in principal. UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said that regulations are just words written on paper. To become something that is followed, something that saves lives, they have to be enforced.