MSHA Reorganizes to Centralize Oversight of Assessments, Accountability Programs

"Some mines require targeted, enhanced enforcement methods. The formation of OAASEI will enable MSHA to better manage and coordinate its use of special enforcement tools against the most serious violators of the Mine Act," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has announced a reorganization designed to centralize its oversight of certain cross-cutting, compliance-related actions. MSHA's Office of Assessments, Accountability, Special Enforcement, and Investigations will incorporate the management, support, and coordination of both routine and special assessments, as well as agency headquarters accountability functions and special enforcement strategies. This list includes the citing of flagrant violations, investigations of retaliation claims and possible criminal violations, impact inspections, the pattern of violations program, and the use of injunctive authority.

Under this reorganization, MSHA will incorporate current headquarters accountability functions as carried out by the Office of Accountability within the OAASEI. The Office of Accountability originally was created in response to internal reviews of the Sago, Aracoma, and Darby mine disasters that were critical of MSHA's pre-accident enforcement activities and questioned whether policies intended to prevent serious mine disasters were being properly and effectively implemented. By establishing headquarters accountability functions within the OAASEI, MSHA will enhance the management, administrative and analytical support for this program while retaining its independence from the mine inspection program areas.

To support the goals of the reorganization, MSHA also will create a new deputy director position for Investigations, Special Enforcement, and Accountability. This section includes the existing Technical Compliance and Investigations Office. It will provide centralized oversight of special investigations and special enforcement activities such as the POV and impact inspection programs; manage the evaluation and development of strategies to improve the use of other enforcement tools, such as flagrant violations and special assessments; and work closely with the OAASEI director in conducting quantitative analyses to monitor mine operators' performance, and continuing to develop and refine special enforcement strategies that improve the health and safety of miners who are most at risk.

In addition, MSHA is establishing a special enforcement and analysis branch within the OAASEI to provide the analytical and programmatic support to administer and refine special enforcement programs such as POV and impact inspections. The branch also will provide analytical support for the office's accountability and assessment functions.

"MSHA conducts regular mandated inspections and enforcement actions to support compliance in U.S. mines," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "However, some mines require targeted, enhanced enforcement methods. The formation of OAASEI will enable MSHA to better manage and coordinate its use of special enforcement tools against the most serious violators of the Mine Act."

The recently enacted fiscal 2012 appropriations bill realigned funding in support of this reorganization. The reorganization includes moving personnel from other MSHA budget activities, as well as adding specially trained investigators for potential criminal and whistleblower issues.

Download Center

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2021

    October 2021

    Featuring:

    • TRAINING
      On Route To Safe Material Handling
    • SAFETY CULTURE
      Normalization of Deviations in Performance
    • IH:INDOOR AIR QUALITY
      Arresting Fugitive Dusts
    • PPE:FOOT PROTECTION
      Safety Shoes Make the Outfit for Well-Protected Workers
    View This Issue