Mine Safety and Health Administration
CONTACT: Bennett Gamble
CONTACT: Amy Louviere/Katharine Snyder
Released Friday, April 9, 1999
MINER TRAINING RULE PROPOSED
The Mine Safety and Health Administration has moved one step closer to putting training regulations in place for 120,000 miners at 10,000 surface nonmetal mines across the country.
A proposed rule establishing training requirements for miners at sand and gravel operations, rock quarries and certain other surface nonmetal mines will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday (April 14).
"Congress directed us to finalize these regulations by Sept. 30, and we are well on our way to meeting that deadline," said J. Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.
Last December and January, MSHA held seven public meetings throughout the country to hear comments from the mining community about the prospective training requirements. More than 220 individuals attended these meetings, including representatives from labor, small and large mine operators, state agencies, mining associations, contractors and trainers.
"The mining community - including the Coalition for Effective Miner Training, representatives from labor unions, small and large mine operators, state agencies, mining associations, contractors and trainers - gave us extensive input in the development of this proposed rule," said McAteer. "Now we are asking for comments on the proposal."
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 requires that each mine operator have a health and safety training program for its miners. However, MSHA appropriations legislation contains language prohibiting use of appropriated funds to enforce miner training requirements in sand, gravel and surface stone operations. The prohibition, which also covers a few other surface nonmetal operations such as clay mines, has been in place since 1980 but is expected to be lifted once MSHA finalizes the training rules.
The proposed rule is designed to ensure that miners receive effective training, while at the same time addressing the particular needs of the affected segments of the mining industry. Some key provisions of the proposed rule include:
- -- Mine operators must adopt miner health and safety training programs at their operations. Plans that include the minimum information specified would not have to be submitted to MSHA for formal review.
-- New miners must receive at least 24 hours of training, with instruction in four specific areas: introduction to the work environment; instruction in recognizing and avoiding hazards; review of escape and emergency plans, and the health and safety aspects of the task assigned.
-- Every 12 months miners must receive at least eight hours of refresher training which, at a minimum, would address major changes at the mine. New task training would also be required for every miner before the miner is assigned to a new task.
-- Training must be provided by someone with the ability, training, knowledge or experience to provide training to miners on a particular subject. Training instructors would not need approval by MSHA.
-- Mine operators would be allowed to substitute equivalent training required by OSHA or other federal or state agencies to satisfy MSHA training requirements.
- May 18, Holiday Inn & Suites, 5905 Kirkman Road, Orlando, Fla.;
May 20, Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St., Sacramento, Calif.;
May 25, Marriott Pittsburgh Airport, 100 Aten Road, Pittsburgh, Pa.;
May 27, U.S. Department of Labor, auditorium, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D. C.