April 1, 2014
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a Program Policy Letter (PPL) clarifying the requirements for examination of working places addressed in C.F.R. §§ 56/57.18002.
The PPL, which MSHA released due to operator questions about which type of records are appropriate when applying the C.F.R., is effective as of March 25, 2014.
It notes that “the operator shall examine each working place at least once each shift for conditions which adversely affect safety or health and a record of the examination be maintained which shall be made available for review by the Secretary or his authorized representative.”
The PPL notes the policy, as outlined in the C.F.R., for examination of working places:
A competent person designated by the operator shall examine each working place at least once each shift for conditions which may adversely affect safety or health. The operator shall promptly initiate appropriate action to correct such conditions.
A record that such examinations were conducted shall be kept by the operator for a period of one year, and shall be made available for review by the Secretary or his authorized representative.
In addition, conditions that may present an imminent danger which are noted by the person conducting the examination shall be brought to the immediate attention of the operator who shall withdraw all persons from the area affected (except persons referred to in section 104(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977) until the danger is abated.
The letter defines a “competent person” as “a person having abilities and experience that fully qualify him to perform the duty to which he is assigned.”
It also notes that the record examination must include:
The date the examination was made
The examiner’s name
The working places examined
The PPL states that “Prudent operators should include a description of the conditions found which may adversely affect safety or health in the examination record.” Additionally, it notes that “operators must retain workplace examination records for the preceding 12 months.”
Finally, the letter clarifies what constitutes a violation of the C.F.R.: “Evidence that a previous shift examination was not conducted or that prompt corrective action was not taken constitutes a violation of §§ 56/57.18002(a). This evidence may include information which demonstrates that safety or health hazards existed prior to the working shift in which they were found.”
To read MSHA’s full PPL, click here.