The government says that the number of chronic safety violators among mine operators has fallen sharply in recent years.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the number has dropped in response to reforms the agency has taken to rein in mines cited frequently for safety violations.
Prior to 2010 no mine had ever been placed on a pattern of violations, or POV status. Safety reforms aligned the POV regulatory rule, with Congress’s original intent in enacting the Mine Act.
According to a release, during MSHA's 2010 screening, 51 chronic violators were identified for further review among mine operators. But for this year's screening, that number had dropped to 12. The biggest reduction came in coal mines, which dropped from 42 in 2010 to six this year.
The National Mining Association credits the industry's own safety program, rather than MSHA, with the progress.