Contested MSHA Cases Up Sharply

MSHA's more aggressive enforcement posture as a result of the MINER Act has opened the floodgates for appealed cases, according to the latest filings data posted by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, the independent appeals agency that rules on the cases. Charts and totals for FY08 to date show both penalty cases and contest cases are up sharply so far this year.

The charts for both are at http://www.fmshrc.gov/new/contestcases.pdf and http://www.fmshrc.gov/new/penaltycases.pdf. Contest cases, above 650 this year versus fewer than 400 at the same time a year ago, are appealed citations or orders by MSHA for alleged violations of mandatory safety or health standards. Penalty cases, above 2,000 this year from 1,000 at this point a year ago, are contested penalty assessments.

FMSHRC offers guides to its rule and procedures to help parties file and pursue their claims. MSHA also has an alternative dispute resolution process that is explained at www.msha.gov/mshainfo/factsheets/mshafct9.htm. For more information about its assessments, call the Office of Assessments at 202-693-9700.

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