For the fifth consecutive year, none of the nation’s more than 13,000 mining operations met the criteria for a Pattern of Violations (POV), according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The screening period started on September 1, 2018, and ended on August 31, 2019.

About the POV

The POV provision in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 is one of MSHA’s toughest enforcement tools. MSHA reserves the provision for mines that pose the greatest risk to miners’ health and safety, particularly those with chronic violation records.

“The Mine Safety and Health Administration remains committed to regular and consistent enforcement of the Mine Act – including issuing Pattern of Violations notices where appropriate – to fulfill its mission to keep the nation’s miners healthy and safe,” said MSHA Assistant Secretary David G. Zatezalo. “For the fifth straight year, no mine met POV criteria, evidence that mine operators have become more proactive in eliminating safety and health hazards.”

In January 2013, MSHA published its POV rule to strengthen safety measures in the nation’s most hazardous mines. Under the regulation, MSHA may consider mitigating circumstances before issuing a POV notice and encourages mine operators to implement a corrective action program if they are approaching POV status.

MSHA developed two online tools to help mine operators monitor compliance: the POV tool, which alerts mine operators that they are approaching POV status and should take appropriate corrective actions; and the S&S rate calculator, which enables mine operators to monitor their “significant and substantial” violations. Between 2011 and 2018, the rate of significant and substantial violations dropped from approximately 32 to 21%, an indicator of safety improvements in mines.

The MSHA's mission

MSHA works to prevent death, illness, and injury from mining and promote safe and healthful workplaces for U.S miners. MSHA carries out the provision of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act) as amended by the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006. The agency develops and enforces safety and health rules for all U.S. mines regardless of size, number of employees, commodity mined, or method of extraction. MSHA also provides technical, educational and other types of assistance to mine operators. MSHA works cooperatively with industry, labor, and other federal and state agencies to improve safety and health conditions for all miners in the United States.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.