This week, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published two proposed rules in the Federal Register that would change the agency’s final rule on examinations of working places in metal and nonmetal (M/NM) mines that was published on January 23. The first proposed rule would make limited changes to the final rule, according to MSHA. The proposed changes would require that an examination of the working place be conducted before work begins or as miners begin work in that place, and that the examination record include descriptions of adverse conditions that are not corrected promptly and the dates of corrective action for these conditions. It would provide mine operators additional flexibility in managing their safety and health programs and reduce regulatory burdens without reducing the protections afforded miners. The proposed rule would continue to permit mine operators with consecutive shifts or those that operate on a 24-hour, 365-day basis to conduct an examination on the previous shift.

MSHA will hold four public hearings on the proposed rule. The first two will be held at MSHA headquarters on October 24 and the Salt Lake Marriott on October 26. Both will begin at 9 a.m. local time. Comments on the proposed changes to the final rule must be received by midnight EST on November 13.

The second proposed rule would further delay the effective date of the final rule. The proposed extension would offer additional time for MSHA to provide stakeholders training and compliance assistance. Comments on the proposed extension must be received by midnight EDT on September 26. For additional information, please contact