D.C. Federal Circuit Court Reinstates the 2017 Workplace Exam Standard

Just when mine operators are getting used to applying the new Workplace Exam Rule, it changes. On June 11, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an opinion vacating the 2018 Amendment to the new workplace exam rule and reinstating the 2017 version of the rule. With this ruling, mine operators are required to document even more information on their workplace exams.

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How Does MSHA Interpret the Negligence of a Citation?

Continuing on the theme of how MSHA interprets and defines the different categories of a citation, this month we discuss negligence. Similar to gravity, there are five increasing levels of negligence that an inspector can assign to a citation. Negligence, however, is the biggest influence on the fine amount of a citation. It is also the most common area to argue for a reduction in fines.

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Liability for Independent Contractor Violations: Why a Mine Operator should ensure Independent Contractors are compliant with MSHA Regulations

At some point, every mine operator will have an independent contractor at their mine performing some sort of work - be it drilling, blasting, crushing, or even changing a tire. Although independent contractors are required to have their own Mine ID numbers, the mine operator may still be responsible for any MSHA violations committed by the contractor. This article discusses why and when operators may be liable, as well as a few steps operators can take to limit their liability.

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Blurring the Definition of a Mine

Since the passage of the Mine Act, MSHA has pushed to expand their jurisdiction as far as possible, stretching the definition of what constitutes a "mine" under the Mine Act. While initially limited to certain areas of of the mining process, MSHA used several terms in the definition of a mine to expand their reach to areas and companies that are only loosely connected to mining. Only with proper vigilance and resistance can MSHA's jurisdictional expansion be reined in.

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