New criteria developed for screening mines
“MSHA’s changes to the screening process are designed to meet these statutory and regulatory objectives,” said Main. “The new screening criteria will draw more attention to the so-called ‘bad actors’ than did the old criteria. They will focus on mines that exhibit chronic failures to maintain safe working conditions, have repeated significant and substantial violations, and have not responded to other enforcement tools.”
The new screening process is designed to identify mines that have been subject to closure orders, including closure orders for serious issues such as failing to correct violations after MSHA cites them, unwarrantable failures to comply with health or safety standards, failure to provide miners with required training and imminent dangers in the mine. The criteria will better identify mines where these tools have been used but have not been sufficient to improve compliance. The criteria also will consider whether a mine has high numbers of significant and substantial or S&S, violations involving elevated negligence, as well as a mine’s injury severity rate, targeting operations with an above-average injury severity measure. All of these factors are either new to the screening criteria or given greater emphasis than before.
The quantitative criteria use the most recent available 12 months of health and safety data to screen for mines. The screening criteria address two categories of violators. In the first category, a mine must exhibit high numbers of S&S violations (at least 50); have S&S violations either issued at an elevated rate (eight per 100 inspection hours) or at elevated levels (25 percent or more) of negligence; have a high rate of elevated enforcement actions (.5 per 100 inspection hours) (In almost all cases these must be closure orders for serious problems.); and have an elevated record of severe injuries (above the industry rate).
The second category targets mines that do not meet the above criteria but still have high numbers of S&S violations and elevated enforcement actions – at least 100 S&S citations/orders and at least 40 elevated citations/orders.
In addition, as required under current regulations, the screening requires mines in both categories to have either repeated S&S violations of the same standard (at least five) or repeated S&S violations caused by an unwarrantable failure to comply with the law (at least two).
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