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DOL/MSHA News Release No. 03-66
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: (202) 693-9423

Released Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Civil Penalties Rise for Mine Safety and Health Violations

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has raised civil penalty fines for all mine safety and health violations by just over 10 percent. The increase, effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, complies with a Congressional mandate that agencies make periodic inflation adjustments in their civil penalties.

"The law provides MSHA with three major tools -- enforcement, education and training, and technical assistance," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Dave D. Lauriski. "Civil penalties are an important aspect of enforcement, which is part of what we call our Triangle of Success. Using all the tools provided by law, we are working to make safety a value throughout the mining industry so that we can send every miner home safe and healthy at the end of every working shift."

Under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, MSHA inspectors must issue a citation for each violation of a health or safety standard they encounter. The penalty amount is determined by several factors the law prescribes, including the size of the mine, severity of the violation, degree of negligence and good faith to correct the violation.

The "single penalty" assessment for non-serious violations that are corrected promptly will rise from $55 to $60, and the existing maximum daily penalty will rise from $5,500 to $6,500 for failure to correct a violation within the period permitted. The maximum civil penalty will increase from $55,000 to $60,000 per violation. Civil penalties for miners who violate mandatory safety standards relating to the use or carrying of smoking materials will continue to be assessed at $275.

The rule was published in Federal Register yesterday and may be viewed on MSHA's web site at http://www.msha.gov/regs/fedreg/fianl/2003finl/03-3160.htm