Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: (703) 235-1452
November 13, 1995
Federal Inspections of Nation's Mines Would Continue During Possible Government Shutdown
Federal safety and health inspections of the nation's mining operations are set to continue in the event of a government shutdown Tuesday, according to the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). However, education and training activities aimed at prevention of mining accidents would cease and the agency's National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, W.Va., would be closed.
"We are prepared to carry on all mine safety and health efforts which are allowed during this Federal funding emergency," said J. Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "However, we are quite concerned that a number of agency preventive measures would have to cease and we call upon all the mining community to be particularly mindful of potential hazards during this time."
In the event of the shutdown of Federal government operations, mine inspections would continue nationwide and mine emergency response capabilities would be available.
Some current MSHA activities designed to protect the health and safety of miners would be affected during a government shutdown.
Some examples include the following:
- --Education and training activities which are key to MSHA
accident prevention efforts would cease and the National
Mine Academy in Beckley, W.Va., would be closed;
--Compliance assistance visits would cease;
--Mine operators' requests for site-specific variances from mandatory mine safety standards would not be processed;
--Dust, fume, gases and other hazardous chemical analyses would cease;
--Meetings with MSHA officials for post-inspection health and safety conferences would not occur, delaying the administrative processing of contested citations and orders; and
--Investigation of discrimination against miners who complain about unsafe working conditions would not occur. However, investigation of unsafe conditions would occur. Additionally, investigations of flagrant, knowing and willful violations of the Mine Act and regulations would cease.
MSHA currently employs 2,331 workers throughout the nation including 110 at the National Mine Academy. During the funding emergency, 1,238 of those employees would be furloughed.