December 14, 2011
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will begin implementing pre-assessment conferencing procedures in January 2012 to help reduce what the agency refers to as “any backlog of future violations before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.”
Under the procedures in most MSHA districts, a mine operator and miners’ representative may request a conference regarding a contested citation or order only after MSHA proposes a penalty assessment, and any settlements require approval by the commission. The new procedures are based on the results of a pilot program launched by MSHA Assistant Secretary Joseph A. Main in August 2010 that evaluated the effect of the pre-assessment conference on contested citations. The evaluation incorporated input from industry stakeholders, including mine operators and miners’ representatives.