Compliance with proper equipment guarding
However, Main says that many issues remain and guard provision, placement, construction, and maintenance require regular attention.
“A recent review shows that overall compliance is improving at mines after receiving impact inspections,” Main said during his July address to aggregates producers. He noted that, since MSHA launched the program in September 2010, violations per inspection hour are down 13 percent after mines received an initial impact inspection; significant and substantial (S&S) violation rates are down 21 percent; 104(d) orders are down 43 percent; and the total lost-time injury rate is down 13 percent, according to MSHA.
“Unfortunately, there are still mines that haven’t gotten the message,” Main pointed out. “The egregious problems found during some of these impact inspections and the extreme measures MSHA had to take to find them — arriving off-shift and commandeering mine phones — validate the administration’s support of focused improvements to the Mine Act that will give MSHA the tools it needs to address chronic violators.”
Mandate data for MSHA ‘duplicative, overly burdensome’
The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) filed that a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule mandating that publicly-traded companies submit data on Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) compliance and injuries is “duplicative” and “overly-burdensome.” The comments from NSSGA were filed on Aug. 29.
NSSGA says it submitted the comments to both the SEC and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in response to OMB’s request for input on ways to relieve paperwork burden.
Presidential Executive Order 13610, Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens, requires that federal agencies take continuing steps to reassess regulatory requirements and, where appropriate, streamline, improve, or eliminate those requirements.
The association says it believes that it is unnecessary to provide this information again after it has already been given to MSHA.
According to NSSGA, examples of items needed for the SEC reporting include the following:
• Significant and substantial violations under Section 104 of the Mine Act;
• Orders under Section 104 (b);
• Unwarrantable failure citations and orders under Section 104 (d);
• Flagrant violations under Section 110 (b) (2);
• Imminent danger orders under Section 107 (a);
• Dollar value of proposed MSHA assessments;
• Mining-related fatalities;
• Notices of pattern of violations or potential to have pattern of violations under Section 104 (e); and
• Pending legal cases before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.
“This duplicative reporting has done nothing to make operations any safer or more compliant,” notes the NSSGA. Instead, is has led to a squandering of company resources because the requested information is already kept at the MSHA website.
For a downloadable PDF of a presentation Joseph Main gave to several aggregates groups in July, go to http://www.msha.gov/Media/SPEECHES/2012/NNSGAJMain71312.pdf. For a slideshow put together by MSHA to help mine operators with guarding compliance issues, go to http://www. msha.gov/Accident_Prevention/GuardingMachineryMNMMines.pdf.
Q3 GDP: Economy Muddling Through
The U.S. economy may be sluggish, but an Oct. 26 report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported 2-percent growth in real gross domestic product for the third quarter of 2012.
This means that U.S. economic growth is slow but not slowing, according to Kathy Bostjancic, director for macro- economic analysis, The Conference Board. Bostjancic says it is difficult for the domestic economy “to grow any more robustly, given the relatively soft pace of consumption and investment, weak sentiment among businesses, continued austerity for state and local government spending, weak exports, and the looming ‘fiscal cliff.’” (For the Aggregates Manager blog post regarding the ‘fiscal cliff,’ go to www.aggman.com/the-nation-is-hurling-itself-toward-a-fiscal-cliff-says-abc-chief-economist/.
Bostjancic notes that “negative headwinds from Europe and Asia” appear to be more persistent than previously thought. However, amidst the negativity, Bostjancic thinks housing is finally turning into a positive factor after a long decline.