April 9, 2014
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a Program Information Bulletin that offers guidance on submitting and implementing a corrective action program (CAP).
The Program Information Bulletin delivers a reminder about the process for submitting a CAP for MSHA approval and points out the tools available to mine operators for monitoring compliance.
MSHA points out the requirements for a CAP submission:
Must contain concrete, meaningful measures to reduce significant and substantial violations
Must be specifically tailored to the mine’s compliance problems
Must contain achievable benchmarks and milestones for implementation
The agency also encourages operators to develop and implement a CAP before meeting pattern of violation screening criteria. Otherwise, the mine is subject to sanctions under Section 104(e) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 for demonstrating a disregard for miners’ health and safety.
Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said in a written statement that it is important for each operator to pay attention to the number of violations and injuries that take place at each mine.
“Mine operators should closely track their violation and injury histories,” Main said. “Developing and implementing an effective corrective action program that reduces significant and substantial violations puts a mine on track to make the workplace safer and healthier for miners.”
To help operators keep track of violations and injuries, MSHA offers an online pattern of violations tool. The agency also offers a significant and substantial violation rate calculator to help operators determine if a mine is meeting the goals outlined in its CAP.
Main urges operators to use the tools only as a supplement to their own monitoring rather than relying on the tools.
“As our guidance explains, these tools are evaluation aids. Ultimately, mine operators are responsible for monitoring compliance, determining whether they are close to meeting the POV screening criteria and taking corrective actions,” Main said.
The agency updates the pattern of violations monitoring tool around the 15th of each month. However, MSHA warns that operators should not wait for violations or injuries to appear in the program before deciding to implement a CAP. MSHA conducts a pattern of violations screening at least once each year.