April 2008 – AggBeat
NSSGA President and CEO Joy Wilson says that “the awards are just a small way of recognizing their [the operations’] contributions to a sustainable America through the economy, environment, and quality of life.”
NSSGA Chairman of the Board Louis Griesemer, president and CEO of Springfield Underground in Springfield, Mo., notes that he “congratulate[s] each of these seven operations for their commitment to being outstanding corporate citizens in their communities.”
The following operations were given 2007 Stars of Excellence:
Three Stars — Presque Isle Quarry, Lafarge, Presque Isle, Mich.
Three Stars — Helena Quarry, Vulcan Materials Co., Helena, Ala.
Two Stars — Aberfoyle Main Pit, St. Mary’s Cement Group, CBM Aggregates, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Two Stars — Beck Street Quarry, Staker & Parsons Cos., Oldcastle Materials, Inc., Salt Lake City.
Two Stars — Brigham City North, Staker & Parsons Cos., Oldcastle Materials, Inc., Brigham City, Utah.
Two Stars — Conco Quarries, Conco Quarries, Willard, Mo.
Two Stars — Grove Stone & Sand Co., Hedrick Industries, Swannanoa, N.C.
MSHA Urged to Rescind Order Denying Safety Citation Consultation
The National Mining Association (NMA) says it is urging the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to rescind a recently implemented policy that “all but denies” mine operators the ability to discuss mine safety citations with the government agency, which could result in allowing arbitrary or incorrectly applied safety decisions to stand.
The NMA says the new rule could result in disputes that have been amicably resolved in the past being subjected to “costly and protracted litigation.” The organization sent a letter on Feb. 6 to Richard Stickler, acting assistant secretary for mine safety and health, objecting to a Procedure Instruction Letter (PIL) issued on Feb. 4 by MSHA. The NMA says that the letter is both “bad public policy and unlawful.”
According to the NMA, the PIL directs MSHA district managers to deny all future requests and cancel any granted requests for a conference on a safety citation or order unless the violation involves an issue deemed to be an unwarrantable failure or involves a high negligence designation.
The NMA said in the letter that the conference procedure provides operators with an opportunity to “better understand MSHA’s views” and that the PIL is “directly contrary to the finding and purpose” of a rulemaking that was undertaken by MSHA last year to revise the conference procedure.
According to the NMA, MSHA found with this rulemaking that “the safety and health of miners is improved when, after an inspection, operators and miners or their representative are afforded an ample opportunity to discuss safety and health issues with a district manager.”
MSHA Revises Civil Penalties
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is revising its civil penalty assessment amounts to adjust for inflation. The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA) requires MSHA to adjust all civil penalties for inflation at least once every four years according to the formula specified in the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (Inflation Adjustment Act). The revised penalties apply to citations and orders issued on or after the effective date of this rule. This final rule became effective on March 10, 2008.
According to the final rule, the operator of any mine in which a violation of a mandatory health or safety standard occurs or who violates any other provision of the Mine Act will be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $70,000. Each occurrence of a violation of a mandatory safety or health standard may constitute a separate offense. The amount of the proposed civil penalty is based on the criteria in sections 105(b) and 110(i) of the Mine Act.
Any operator who fails to correct a violation for which a citation has been issued under Section 104(a) of the Mine Act within the period permitted for its correction may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $7,500 for each day during which such failure or violation continues. Additionally, any miner who willfully violates the mandatory safety standards relating to smoking or the carrying of smoking materials, matches, or lighters shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $375 for each occurrence of such violation.
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