Report: Mines Avoiding Chronic Safety Violations

Mining companies are doing a better job at cutting down on the number of safety violations.

That’s the upshot of an announcement by the U.S. Department Mine Safety and Health Administration that for the first time since reforms began in 2010 – none of the nation’s more than 13,000 mining operations meets the criteria for a Pattern of Violations notice.

The POV program was enacted in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and is aimed at reining in those mining operations with chronic safety violations.

The 1977 Mine Act authorizes MSHA to issue a POV notice to mine operators that demonstrate a disregard for the health and safety of miners through a pattern of significant and substantial violations. It requires mines that receive POV notices to be issued withdrawal orders–temporarily ceasing operations until the violation is abated – for all significant and substantial violations.

In January 2013, MSHA published its final POV rule to strengthen safety measures in the nation’s most dangerous mines. The regulation enables MSHA to consider mitigating circumstances before issuing a POV notice and encourages mines to implement a corrective action program if they are approaching a POV.

In recent years, MSHA developed two online tools to help mine operators monitor compliance – the POV monitoring tool, which alerts mine operators that they meet the screening criteria and should take proper corrective actions; and the S&S rate calculator that enables mine operators to monitor their S&S violations.

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