In the last few months, mine operators around the country have seen individual MSHA inspectors and districts suddenly enforce new interpretations for a number of regulations. The latest rule evolving right before our eyes in one district could have widespread effect: grounding and continuity testing. Is MSHA’s new approach justified? Continue Reading Discontinuity: A new change in MSHA enforcement with far-reaching impact
A few weeks back, MSHA announced a new “training and enforcement” initiative on “working alone,” which MSHA claimed was necessary because of five fatalities in 2017. But, I had to ask: do these incidents really have anything to do with each other or with working alone? Continue Reading Digging deep into MSHA’s working alone initiative – on solid ground?
by Mike Horowitz
For most of the last four years, OSHA has insisted that a union representative who is not your employee can participate in OSHA inspections at your work site. This spring, that changed when OSHA finally reversed this much-criticized policy. Continue Reading Who’s coming to the (OSHA) inspection party? Just folks on the inside.
In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee this week, Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta emphasized OSHA’s future focus on compliance assistance to employers and said OSHA had abandoned Obama-era policies on “joint employers.” Continue Reading Acosta testimony emphasizes OSHA compliance assistance
Perhaps signaling that OSHA may be turning more toward cooperative and compliance assistance programs under the Trump administration, as many in industry have hoped, OSHA announced this week that it will hold a public meeting to receive suggestions from stakeholders on how to strengthen its Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). Continue Reading Signs of turning to cooperation and compliance assistance? OSHA seeks input on VPP.
Department of Labor press releases issued during April suggest that DOL, including OSHA and MSHA, may have returned to the aggressive public relations strategy of calling out companies by name, which was utilized during the previous administration. Former head of OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, reportedly called this strategy “regulation by shaming.” Continue Reading Is the Department of Labor reverting to Obama-era media strategies?
In the recent issue of Rock Products, I look at a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit limiting MSHA’s jurisdiction. If you operate a shop that services mining equipment, you’ll want to take note of this case. Continue Reading Limiting MSHA’s jurisdiction: Is it connected to a working mine?
As forecast in our previous discussion, on April 4th President Trump signed House Joint Resolution 83. This was the final action to complete the Congressional Review Act (CRA) process, disposing of the “Volks Rule” and reinstating to the six-month statute of limitations for recordkeeping activities.
Just a few months after OSHA civil penalties increased by 78%, OSHA published another increase to its civil penalties on January 18, 2017. The latest bump in penalties, which a recent federal law required OSHA to issue, was far more modest, amounting to an adjustment for inflation of about 1% based on the Consumer Price Index. Continue Reading OSHA civil penalties increase again for 2017