A final rule designed to strengthen safety in the nation’s most dangerous mines is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register tomorrow. The rule revises the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s pattern of violations (POV) regulation in the 30 Code of Federal Regulations Part 104. The rule:
- allows MSHA to issue a POV notice without first issuing a potential notice.
- eliminates a requirement that MSHA can consider only final orders in its POV review.
- establishes general criteria and procedures to identify mines with a pattern of health and safety violations.
- reinforces mine operators’ responsibility for compliance with safety and health standards and monitoring.
- clarifies that MSHA will consider an approved corrective action program as a mitigating circumstance in its POV review, if the program contains definitive benchmarks implemented prior to a POV notice and the operator has reduced S&S violations (“reasonably expected to lead to a serious injury or illness”).
- restates that for mines in POV status, each S&S violation will result in a withdrawal order until a complete inspection finds no S&S violations.