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- EHS RESEARCH
After a flurry of legal activity, a miner who was fired from a California rare earth minerals operation after complaining about unsafe working conditions has been reinstated – temporarily. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says the employee, who spoke out about various safety issues at the mine, had refused to work on a sodium carbonate tank until the operator provided him with a material safety data sheet so he would know what to do in the event of overexposure.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says the 155 citations and two orders issued by federal inspectors during last month's special impact inspections represent the lowest number of orders issued during targeted monthly inspections over nearly three years.
Fatality and injury rates in 2012 were the lowest in the the history of U.S. mining, according to statistics released recently by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). “MSHA at a Glance,” with updated information on inspections, violations, mines and miners, as well as injury and fatality rates, is available on the agency’s website, www.msha.gov, under “Fact Sheets.”
Rox Coal Inc., which operates the Geronimo Mine in Somerset County, Pa., has been found in violation of a mandatory electrical hazard safety standard by an administrative law judge with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. The ALJ deemed the violation “quintessentially flagrant” and ordered the company to pay a $110,000 civil penalty.
A mining company fought the law and the law won recently, when the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky ordered the D & C Mining Corp. to pay the $1.67 million in safety fines it has so far failed to pay.
Four mining fatalities within two weeks in West Virginia prompted Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to call for a safety stand down last week so that mine operators could review safety practices. The order signed by Tomblin required mines to stop operations for at least one hour on Wednesday afternoon.
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has cleared the way for two miners’ widows to pursue a lawsuit against the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for its admitted failure to inspect and enforce safety regulations at the Aracoma Coal Company’s Alma Mine #1 in that state.
Research supports an Obama administration plan to reduce coal miners’ exposure to the dust that causes black lung, a much-anticipated Government Accountability Office )GAO) report released this January found. Last December, House Republicans inserted language into an appropriations bill requiring the study. No money could be used to implement a proposed coal mine dust rule until the GAO evaluated the research underpinning it, the rider said.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis last week announced a final rule to strengthen safety in the nation's most dangerous mines. The rule, which revises the Mine Safety and Health Administration's pattern of violations regulation in 30 Code of Federal Regulations Part 104, has been submitted to the Federal Register for publication.
In a decision applauded as a victory for miners' rights, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit rejected an appeal by Cordero Mining LLC of Gillette, Wyo., in a worker discrimination case. The worker, a shovel operator with 28 years of experience as a miner, filed a complaint with the Mine Safety and Health Administration in May 2010, claiming she was terminated in retaliation for her repeated safety complaints.
This standard establishes the elements and activities for pre-project and pre-task safety and health planning in construction.
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