MSHA's Main Celebrates Agency's Progress

"In 2015, 28 miners lost their lives, the lowest number of deaths ever recorded in a single year.... I am proud to be part of this institution and its legacy," Assistant Secretary Joseph A. Main wrote in a blog post honoring the agency on its 38th birthday.

Assistant Secretary Joseph A. Main celebrated the 38th birthday of the Mine Safety and Health Administration with a post on the DOL blog about its progress to date. MSHA was created when the Department of the Interior's Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration was permanently transferred to the Department of Labor.

"To get a sense of mining's legislative history in this country, you have to go back to 1891, when Congress passed the first federal statute governing mine safety. In 1910, following a decade in which the number of coal mine fatalities exceeded 2,000 annually, Congress established the Bureau of Mines within DOI. It was granted no inspection authority until 1941, when federal inspectors were finally empowered to enter mines. Six years later, the first code of federal regulations for mine safety was authorized," Main wrote. "Fast forward to 1973, when the secretary of interior, through administrative action, created the Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration as a new departmental agency separate from the Bureau of Mines. MESA assumed the safety and health enforcement functions formerly carried out by the bureau to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest between the enforcement of mine safety and health standards and the bureau's responsibilities for mineral resource development. And on March 9, 1978, implementation of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 began, which included the transfer of MESA to the Labor Department, where it was renamed the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Like previous mining laws, this legislation was born out of mining injuries, illnesses, deaths and terrible mining disasters. Unlike the Coal Act of 1969, which was passed after national outrage over the deaths of 78 miners in West Virginia the previous year, it extended the same protections to workers at metal and nonmetal mining operations.

"Since its inception, MSHA has had a profound history of protecting the health and safety of our nation's miners, tackling many serious safety hazards and health risks. In 1978, 242 miners perished in mining accidents in the United States. The number steadily dropped over the years, and in 2015, 28 miners lost their lives, the lowest number of deaths ever recorded in a single year. Thanks to strategic enforcement initiatives such as impact inspections that quickly address problem mines, the pattern of violations tool that targets mines with chronic violations, the final respirable coal dust rule that will end black lung disease once and for all, compliance assistance, and training and outreach to the mining industry, more miners will return home to their loved ones, safe and healthy, after every shift. I am proud to be part of this institution and its legacy."

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • 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.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2022

    June 2022


      Corporate Safety Culture Is Workplace Culture
      Keeping Workers Safe from Heat-Related Illnesses & Injuries
      Should Employers Consider Oral Fluid Drug Testing?
      Addressing Physical Differences
    View This Issue