MSHA Sets Public Hearings on Workplace Examination Proposed Rules

MSHA will conduct four public hearings on two proposed rules: "Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines" and "Pattern of Violations." Each hearing will cover the major issues raised by public input in response to the proposed rules.

MSHA announced Monday that it will conduct four public hearings on two proposed rules: "Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines" and "Pattern of Violations." Each hearing will cover the major issues raised by public input in response to the proposed rules.

"Both of these proposed rules seek to offer further protections for our nation's miners—through complete workplace examinations aimed at eliminating conditions that can result in injury, illness, or death, and through more effective means for identifying problem mines and encouraging them to improve their safety records," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.

MSHA included the general criteria for reviewing a mine for a pattern of violations in that proposed rule; however, the specific criteria were posted on the agency's website. In the preamble to the proposed rule, MSHA requested input into how the agency should obtain comments during the development of, and periodic revision to, the POV-specific criteria.

"MSHA plans to provide any change to the specific criteria to the public for comment before we use it to review a mine for a pattern of violations," Main said.

MSHA will review and respond to comments, then revise, as appropriate, the specific criteria and post them on the agency's website. MSHA is requesting comments on the proposed approach to obtaining public input for revisions to the POV-specific criteria.

The hearings for the examinations of work areas proposal will begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT on each date. After testimony has concluded, the hearings for the pattern of violations proposal will begin immediately. Dates and locations are: June 2 at the Embassy Suites Denver; June 7 at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia in Charleston, W.Va.; June 9 at the Sheraton in Birmingham, Ala.; and June 15 at MSHA headquarters in Arlington, Va.

For information about submitting comments, go to http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/msha/MSHA20110641.htm.

The proposed rules are available at http://www.regulations.gov and on MSHA's website at http://www.msha.gov/REGSPROP.htm.

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