The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration released the findings of monthly impact inspections at 25 U.S. mines in January and February 2023. MSHA conducts impact inspections at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to factors that include poor compliance history; previous accidents, injuries, and illnesses; and other compliance concerns.
The impact inspections resulted in the issuance of 374 violations and two safeguards, including 113 significant and substantial and 13 unwarrantable failure findings. An S&S violation is one that is reasonably likely to result in a reasonably serious injury or illness.
Violations are designated as an unwarrantable failure when an inspector finds aggravated conduct that constitutes more than ordinary negligence. MSHA conducted inspections at mines in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Companies inspected included Giant Cement, Drake Cement and Specialty Minerals.
“These impact inspections uncovered serious violations, demonstrating that they remain an important enforcement tool to address safety and health issues at mines with poor compliance histories,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “The Mine Safety and Health Administration is focused on identifying conditions that can lead to serious accidents given the number of fatalities the mining industry has experienced so far this year. We will continue to use every tool that Congress gave us to protect miners’ safety and health, and we ask the entire mining community to work with us to eliminate safety and health hazards that can cost miners their lives.”
MSHA initiated impact inspections in April 2010 after an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia claimed the lives of 29 miners. From March 2020 through December 2022, MSHA conducted targeted inspections at mines that warranted additional enforcement activity. MSHA resumed conducting regular monthly impact inspections in January 2023 and is publishing the results on its website.