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?

MSHA’s rule, 30 CFR § 56/57.12028, requires operators to test the continuity and resistance testing of “grounding systems . . . immediately after installation, repair, and modification; and annually thereafter.” It also requires keeping records of the most recent resistance measured.

As I wrote in a recent Rock Products column, the rule is so broad and vague that with an overly broad interpretation, in a minute or two I could find more than 200 items nearby in my law office that could qualify for such testing. Imagine what happens when an inspector gets ambitious at a mine site?

For more on why one MSHA district’s interpretation is overkill, read the full column at Rock Products