MSHA Announces '100 Percent Plan'
October 4, 2007
Plan will ensure completion of all mandated regular inspections
The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has announced a new initiative to complete 100 percent of mandated regular inspections for all coal mines in the country."Due to the large number of inspector-trainees replacing retired or departing inspectors, MSHA has faced challenges in completing regular safety and health inspections," said Richard E. Stickler, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The 100 Percent Plan will ensure that MSHA has the necessary resources to fully enforce the Mine Act."Under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, only fully accredited inspectors (Authorized Representatives or ARs) have the authority to conduct inspections and issue citations. When inspector-trainees are hired, they must complete extensive training at the Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, W.Va., in addition to fulfilling on-the-job training requirements, before becoming Authorized Representatives.Since July 2006, MSHA has hired more than 273 new inspector-trainees. Once these new inspectors receive their AR certifications, MSHA's coal enforcement ranks will be at their highest level since 1994. MSHA's new 100 Percent Plan calls for the temporary reassignment of MSHA inspectors to areas where they are most needed and provides for increased overtime for additional hours needed to complete inspections until all trainees are fully qualified.Editor's Note: The data that indicate inspection completion rates in coal mines from fiscal years 2000 through 2006 can be found online at http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/msha/MSHA20071537.htm.
Fiscal year 2007 data are not yet available.