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MSHA Announces Plans for New Rule

Mine Safety Health Adminstration

Federal mine regulators are proposing a change in the criteria for civil penalties for health and safety violations. The Mine Safety and Health Administration Tuesday announced plans to publish a proposed new rule.

  According to a release from the Department of Labor, the new rule is meant to simplify the criteria for assessing health and safety violations while increasing emphasis on more serious safety and health conditions.

The proposal is structured to encourage mine operators to be more accountable in addressing these conditions in their mines. Minimum penalties for violations that constitute more than just ordinary negligence would increase.

Total penalties proposed by MSHA and the distribution of the penalty amount by mine size would remain generally the same, while the penalty amount for small metal and nonmetal mines would decrease. The existing minimum and maximum penalties for non-flagrant violations won't change.

The proposal comes four years after MSHA chief Joe Main testified about a growing backlog of violations being contested by mines and an executive order by president Obama requiring agencies to simplify their regulations.

MSHA says the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on Friday.

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