Coal mine operators could face a dilemma with the annual proficiency and training requirements of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (Miner Act) and the regulations Subpart Mine Rescue Teams for Underground Coal Mines conflicting with COVID-19 risk mitigation efforts.
COVID-19 has not derailed the “One MSHA Initiative,” MSHA’s effort to blur the “distinction between coal and metal/non-metal enforcement for more efficient use of resources.” That’s not a surprise, given the commitment of MSHA’s leadership to the Initiative and the fact that it started back in 2018.
Continue Reading MSHA Blurring the Lines: Getting a clearer picture of how it really looks and works
by Sydney Buckley
With scientists worldwide racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, many employers are asking if they can require employees to be vaccinated. As with everything COVID-19, there are many open questions, but here are some of the major legal issues in considering mandatory vaccination policies.
Our popular ACRI course for mine supervisors, executives, and managers to learn how to minimize MSHA liability is going virtual! Next month, Husch Blackwell is partnering once again with Predictive Compliance and Catamount Consulting to offer a two-day, intensive, live online course titled Alternative Case Resolution Initiative: Defending and Winning MSHA Litigation.
Continue Reading Register now for virtual 2-day ACRI course on Defending and Winning MSHA Litigation!
Though the mining industry uses about 90% of explosives in the United States, neither ATF’s regulations nor its personnel generally come from mining. Nonetheless, ATF and the mining industry generally have worked together well as partners. Issues do sometimes arise, however, such as recent ATF actions on underground explosives storage magazines.
Continue Reading Navigating with ATF on underground explosives storage magazines
The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit is currently considering a request by mine worker unions to require MSHA to create an emergency COVID-19 regulation. The parties have all finished submitting their briefs and now await a ruling. Husch Blackwell’s mine safety and health team represented national industry associations in filing an amicus (“friend-of-the-court”) brief to describe industry protections against the virus.
Continue Reading As unions seek COVID-19 regulation, mining industry brief explains extensive efforts to protect workers
NIOSH and MSHA collaborated recently to publish more resources to mitigate miner exposure to COVID-19. The materials include a web page with guidance for staying healthy, as well as posters, all provided on both MSHA’s and the CDC’s web sites.
Continue Reading MSHA publishes new COVID-19 resources for miners
While many employers consider whether and how to use COVID-19 tests of different kinds to help clear employees to return to work, the EEOC has clarified that not all tests are created equal in its eyes. Our partner, Barbara Grandjean, reports on the latest EEOC guidance.
Continue Reading EEOC: Employers can require viral COVID-19 tests, but not antibody tests, for return-to-work
COVID-19 has hit small and medium-sized businesses, and even regional companies, especially hard. On top of losing customers, trying to make payroll and rent, and being squeezed on either end, they have fewer resources to become experts on how to keep their workers safe. Many feel that they simply do not have the time or money to analyze pages of federal and state guidance and prepare detailed return-to-work plans. But, it need not be this way. We’ve got a solution.
Continue Reading Just in time, a little boost for small and medium-sized businesses planning return to work
All bets are off as regulatory agencies are tugged in every direction in pandemic world. Normally, an election year probably would not have seen particularly aggressive enforcement or rulemaking. For a while, COVID-19 health precautions and furloughed work sites meant reduced inspection activity. But, enforcement may be picking up, and a battle over new regulations is brewing. Here’s your full update.
Continue Reading OSHA and MSHA update: More enforcement? New regs? Deregulation? It’s all on the table.