The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) enacted the second phase of major reforms increasing the number of inspections of mining operations and strengthening enforcement of existing regulations. With more rigorous MSHA regulations, the mining industry has experienced an influx in citations and penalties over the last several years.

Catamount Consulting, in conjunction with Patton Boggs, has developed a series of workshops to help educate the mining community on how to navigate the citation process and potentially avoid or lower costly penalties. The first of two Alternative Case Resolution Initiative (ACRI) workshops will be held in Denver, Colorado, on August 21, 2012. “We have partnered with Catamount Consulting to provide industry experts who can teach mine operators how to professionally work with MSHA,” said Mark Savit, partner at Patton Boggs.

Developed by MSHA, the ACRI process allows ACRI-trained non-attorney MSHA specialists to resolve or adjudicate select enforcement disputes with mine operators resulting from citations under the Mine Act. The use of ACRI has spread to every type of citation except where serious, disabling or fatal injuries are involved.

“Mine operators need to know how to avoid and respond to any violations on their sites before a MSHA inspection,” said Scott McKenna, owner, Catamount Consulting. “Ignorance of rights, responsibilities, the Code of Federal Regulations and the ACRI process is simply reckless.”

The two-and-a-half-day workshops will cover the legal and procedural processes involved in field inspections, citations and ACRI resolutions. Mine operators and representatives will gain valuable skills necessary to participate in the ACRI process without having to attain outside legal representation.

Attorneys from Patton Boggs LLP, a preeminent Washington D.C.-based firm, will provide professional insight into MSHA laws and litigation procedures. Participants will learn how to organize and present legal arguments. They will also receive a manual including form pleadings, which are useful in preparing for settlement conferences and proceedings with administrative law judges.

The ACRI workshops will be held at the Patton Boggs Law Offices in Denver, Colorado, (August 21-23, 2012) and Green Bay, Wisconsin (January 15-17, 2013). The cost to attend is $625 per person. More information on the seminar can be found at www.catamountconsultingllc.com.

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