Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Rodney Brown or
Phone: (202) 693-9400
Released Tuesday, June 17, 2003
New MSHA Rule Allows Alternate Program for Evaluation of Mining Products
ARLINGTON, Va. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today issued a final rule that allows manufacturers who seek MSHA approval of their products for use in underground mines to use independent laboratories to conduct the testing and evaluation of products for approval. MSHA previously had responsibility, in most cases, for evaluation and testing of products to ensure safe operation in the mine environment.
"This rule is good for America's mining industry," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "It increases the availability of a wider range of mining equipment with enhanced, modern safety features to the mining industry which will aid us in our goal of sending every miner home safe every day."
The new rule also allows the agency to approve products based on non-MSHA product safety standards when MSHA determines those standards provide, at least the same degree of protection as agency approval requirements, or can be modified to do so. Under the final rule, at the manufacturer's option, MSHA will accept testing and evaluation of various types of mining equipment performed by an independent laboratory for purposes of MSHA approval only after certain requirements are met.
MSHA will retain its testing and evaluation program under the final rule and equipment manufacturers could still choose to have MSHA test and evaluate their products. The agency will continue to evaluate approval requests for all products regardless of the approval standard used for testing and evaluation.
The final rule appears in the Federal Register today and becomes effective in 60 days. It can also be viewed on the MSHA web site at www.msha.gov.