MSHA Raises Maximum Civil Penalty for Flagrant Violations

It will rise to $242,000 effective Jan. 28, and the maximum penalty for failing to provide timely notification of an accident will increase to $65,000.

In a final rule published Dec. 28, MSHA has raised the maximum penalty for failure to provide timely notification to the secretary under section 103(j) of the Mine Act from $60,000 to $65,000 and the maximum penalty for flagrant violations under Section 110(b)(2) of the act from $220,000 to $242,000. The changes take effect Jan. 28.

This is the first adjustment of the agency's penalties since February 2008. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 requires MSHA to review and, where appropriate, adjust its civil penalties for inflation, based on the cost of living, at least once every four years. The law requires the cost-of-living adjustment be applied to penalties that were statutorily established by Congress; the Mine Act contains eight statutory penalties, most of which aren't being changed this time.

Section 103(j) of the Mine Act requires operators to notify MSHA of the occurrence of an accident and to take appropriate measures to preserve any evidence that would assist in the investigation of its cause(s).

The minimum penalty for failing to provide timely notification of an accident is $5,000 currently, and that amount is not being changed.

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