On December 19, 2023, MSHA announced a final rule to have written safety programs for surface mobile equipment (excluding belt conveyers) at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines.

Both the Part 56 and Part 57 rule requires:

(a) The operator to develop and implement a written safety program that includes actions the operator will take to:

  1. Identify and analyze hazards and reduce the resulting risks related to the movement and the operation of surface mobile equipment;
  2. Develop and maintain procedures and schedules for routine maintenance and nonroutine repairs for surface mobile equipment;
  3. Identify currently available and newly emerging feasible technologies that can enhance safety at the mine and evaluate whether to adopt them; and
  4. Train miners and other persons at the mine necessary to perform work to identify and address or avoid hazards related to surface mobile equipment.

(b) The responsible person (which is defined as a person or multiple persons with authority and responsibility to evaluate and update a written safety program) must evaluate and update the written safety program at least annually, or as mining conditions or practices change that may adversely affect the health and safety of miners or other persons, as accidents or injuries occur, or as surface mobile equipment changes or modifications are made.

(c) The operator must solicit input from miners and their representatives in developing and updating the written safety program.

Operators have six months from the effective date of the rule to designate a responsible person and comply with the rule. The rule does not require MSHA plan approval but expect MSHA inspectors to review your plan during inspections. 

Unlike the draft rule (which did not apply to mines with less than six miners), the final rule covers all mines. Please reach out to a Husch Blackwell Workplace Safety & Health professional with any questions.