Obama to ask Chemical Safety Board Chairman to Resign

CNN reports that President Obama is expected imminently to ask for the resignation of Rafael Moure-Eraso, the embattled chairman of the Chemical Safety Board: Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso has been accused by members of Congress of malfeasance, hostility towards his staff and retaliation against whistleblowers. And an inspector general report found he used personal email to conduct government

Talking Tough – Main Assesses Five Years On Point at MSHA

Joe Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, addressed the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) on March 16 in a general session of the NSSGA’s annual convention in Baltimore. In his remarks (essentially a “State of MSHA” speech), Main repeatedly noted the value of collaboration with industry in making safety

Safety Deposits For PPE

In a recently posted interpretation letter, OSHA has advised employers that they may require employees

Wyoming Workplace Safety Legislation Fails to Advance

Three bills aimed at strengthening workplace safety regulation in Wyoming (an OSHA state plan state) failed to advance in the state legislature and are unlikely to be brought up during the remainder of the State’s 2015 legislative session.  Two of the bills, HB0236 and SF0072, sought to increase the penalty range for willful violations from

MSHA announces results of January impact inspections

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today announced that federal inspectors issued 176 citations, eight

New Online Tools Released By MSHA

On February 25, MSHA held a stakeholder meeting and released two online tools to assist

OSHA Hazard Communication June 1 Deadline Looms – Are You Ready?

Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must be in compliance with all modified provisions of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) by June 1, 2015. Recently, OHSA issued a memorandum describing its “enforcement position” on manufacturers and importers who have exercised “good faith” and “reasonable diligence” to comply with this approaching deadline but have not received

Bizarre COPS Fatality A Reminder of OSHA’s Long Arms

On August 26, 2014, while recording the COPS television show, a sound technician was tragically hit by a bullet while shadowing police officers at the scene of an armed robbery in Omaha, Nebraska. The victim was wearing a bullet proof vest. Unfortunately, the bullet struck the technician under his arm where the vest did not

MSHA “Clarifies” Negligence and Gravity Criteria In Proposed Civil Penalty Rule

In response to sharp criticism leveled at the agency at several public hearings, MSHA today announced an extension of the comment period regarding its proposed rule to revise the criteria and procedures for assessing civil penalties. In its notice announcing the extension, MSHA responded to comments by “clarifying” that lesser negligence and gravity findings will

MSHA Announces “Heightened Efforts” to Reduce Mining Deaths

Over the course of its history, MSHA has focused most of its attention on the coal industry. It is widely recognized that high-profile accidents in the nation’s coal mines have driven MSHA’s regulatory agenda. However, a recent spike in deaths experienced in the metal and nonmetal (M/NM) mining sector has drawn the spotlight away from

Bone-Shattering Cold Makes for a Dangerous Workplace

As much of the Eastern United States experiences the continued onslaught of the blizzapocalypsegeddon of 2015,

2014 broke the record for mine safety discrimination complaints

Last year, MSHA filed 49 section 105(c) discrimination complaints – more than in any previous year. These complaints, filed with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, involved allegations of discrimination made by miners in the form of a discharge, suspension or other adverse action. Additionally, MSHA filed 45 complaints in 2014 requesting temporary

Coal mines in 99 percent compliance with new respirable mine dust rule

In what can only be considered a hugely successful effort on the part of American

Proximity Detection Rule Goes Final

Today, MSHA announced its final rule requiring operators of underground coal mines to equip continuous mining machines with proximity detection systems. The final rule, which can be reviewed here, will be published in the Federal Register on January 15 and will become effective 60 days thereafter. The final rule includes phase-in periods for the required modifications

Drilling Industry Safety Record Under Scrutiny

The drumbeat is getting louder for increased attention to the safety record in the oil and gas drilling sector – this time courtesy of EnergyWire. Today’s article cites an EnergyWire review of federal labor statistics, asserting that oil and gas production “has more deaths from fires and explosions than any other private industry.” The article