AggBeat: The heat is on MSHA
In the NSSGA report about the audit, Main acknowledged that MSHA’s internal controls for ensuring inspectors received training could be improved. He agreed to revise existing polices and procedures, including developing clear guidelines of accountability for completing required training, and reemphasizing MSHA’s commitment to maintain a well-trained workforce, according to the audit findings.
What should MSHA do?
During the U.S. Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General’s audit of the Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors, recommendations were developed.
In the audit report to MSHA, Journeyman Mine Inspectors Do Not Receive Required Periodic Retraining, Elliott P. Lewis, assistant inspector general for audit with the U.S. DOL’s Office of the Inspector General, gave these recommendations to MSHA’s assistant secretary regarding training of inspectors:
• Implement procedures and controls to hold supervisors accountable (e.g., policies, performance standards, etc.) for assuring that all journeyman inspectors complete required periodic retraining;
• Revise MSHA’s training policy to suspend an individual’s inspection activities if designated retraining is not completed as required;
• Develop and implement written policies and procedures to justify and document cases in which completion of minimum training requirements are waived for an inspector;
• Revise automated training records to include the date that OJT modules are completed; and
• Implement controls to assure that training records are fully supported to validate training as it is completed.
NSSGA notes that during meetings between CEOs of the association’s member companies and MSHA leaders appointed by President Obama, it has forcefully advocated that training be improved resulting in more consistent and risk-based enforcement.
MSHA’s Main has indicated that improved training is a high priority. The NSSGA Safety and Health Committee also is working to identify areas of ambiguity in current law, regulation, or guidance.
Objective and findings
Objective: Do MSHA inspectors receive training to effectively execute their regulatory responsibilities?
• Finding 1: Fifty-six percent of MSHA journeyman inspectors sampled had not received required periodic retraining.
• Finding 2: One individual was authorized to perform inspection duties without completing the minimum training requirements.
• Finding 3: The MSHA Academy lacked timely and adequate support documentation for some completed training.
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