MSHA Completing Many Corrective Actions

The agency posted an update June 26 on its progress toward fulfilling the Internal Review Report's recommendations.

MSHA on June 26 posted the first report on its progress in completing corrective actions recommended by its Internal Review Report, which examined the DOL agency's actions prior to the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine on April 5, 2010. The report's tables show completed corrective actions that have been completed and what steps MSHA took to mark them off the list and continue progress on them, in some cases.

MSHA chief Joe Main said the tables will be updated quarterly. A list of all recommendations, the corrective actions, and the estimated completion date for each action can be found in Appendix A of the Internal Review Report.

Among the ones completed so far are that MSHA's administrator for coal should direct District 4 and 12 managers to reinforce MSHA policy and procedure concerning training standards that can be cited and ensuring inspectors know which records must be inspected. The tables indicate this recommendation was addressed during District 4 and 12 training sessions at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy on April 3-4, 2012, and the same training will be provided to all coal districts. Enforcement personnel were instructed that MSHA policy only allows violations of 30 CFR 48.5, 48.6, 48.7, 48.8, and 48.11 to be cited under section 104(g)(1) of the Mine Act for untrained miners at underground mines, it states.

Another recommendation was that Main convene a panel of mine rescue experts from industry, state and federal government, labor, and academia to review, refine, and develop mine rescue and recovery protocols based on the lessons learned from the Upper Big Branch disaster. MSHA did this by holding the Mine Rescue Summit at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy on May 7-8, 2012.

According to the report, the experts recommended further discussions with an organized mine emergency group, and MSHA is working to create such a forum.

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