Yesterday we attended one of the last MSHA Stakeholders Meetings regarding the new Metal/Nonmetal workplace exam rule. In case you were unable to attend any of the meetings, the PowerPoint presented at the sessions can be found here. The Inspector training and Frequently Asked Questions document prepared by the agency are also available on the MSHA website.

The new rule requires that mine operators:

  • Designate a competent person to examine each working place at least once each shift before work begins or as miners begin work in that place, for conditions that may adversely affect safety or health;
  • Promptly initiate corrective action when adverse conditions are found;
  • Promptly notify miners in affected areas if adverse conditions are found and not corrected before miners are potentially exposed;
  • Withdraw all persons from affected areas when alerted to any conditions that may present an imminent danger, until the danger is abated;
  • Make a working place examination record before the end of the shift for which the examination was conducted.

During the meeting yesterday Don Vickers from MSHA clarified that if a hazard can be corrected before the end of the same shift it is discovered, then you do not have to record the adverse action in the record. Mr. Vickers also clarified that notifications of the hazards can be verbal, warning signs and/or barricades. Mines need to be sure any barrier clearly communicates the hazard.

Importantly, MSHA representatives stated that citations under the new regulation would not be written until after September 20, 2018. We encourage you to use this grace period to work with your local field office and talk with them about your compliance plan.