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DOL/MSHA RIN: 1219-AB73 Publication ID: Fall 2011
Title: Pattern of Violations
Abstract: MSHA is preparing a final rule to revise the Agency's existing regulation for pattern of violations contained in 30 CFR part 104. MSHA has determined that the existing pattern criteria and procedures do not reflect the statutory intent for section 104(e) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act) that operators manage health and safety conditions at mines so that the root causes of significant and substantial (S&S) violations are addressed before they become a hazard to the health and safety of miners. The legislative history of the Mine Act explains that Congress intended the pattern of violations tool to be used for operators who have demonstrated a disregard for the health and safety of miners. The final rule would reflect statutory intent, simplify the pattern of violations criteria, and improve consistency in applying the patterns of violations criteria.
Agency: Department of Labor(DOL) Priority: Other Significant
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage
Major: No Unfunded Mandates: No
CFR Citation: 30 CFR 104
Legal Authority: 30 USC 814(e); 30 USC 957
Legal Deadline: None

Statement of Need: The pattern of violations provision was a new enforcement tool in the Mine Act. The Mine Act places the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the safety and health of miners on mine operators. The goal of the pattern of violations proposed rule is to compel operators to manage health and safety conditions so that the root causes of S&S violations are found and fixed before they become a hazard to miners. MSHA's existing regulation is not consistent with the language, purpose, and legislative history of the Mine Act and hinders the Agency's use of pattern of violations to identify chronic violators who thumb their noses at the law by a continuing cycle of citation and abatement.

Summary of the Legal Basis: Promulgation of this standard is authorized by sections 104(e) and 508 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.

Alternatives: MSHA will consider alternative criteria for determining when a pattern of significant and substantial violations exists in order to improve health and safety conditions in mines and provide protection for miners. Congress provided the Secretary with broad discretion in determining criteria, recognizing that MSHA may need to modify the criteria as Agency experience dictates.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: MSHA will develop a regulatory economic analysis to accompany the final rule.

Risks: Mine operators with a chronic history of persistent serious violations needlessly expose miners to the same hazards again and again. These operators demonstrate a disregard for the safety and health of miners; this indicates a serious safety and health management problem at the mine. The existing regulation has not been effective in reducing repeated risks to miners at these mines.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM 02/02/2011 76 FR 5719
NPRM Comment Period End 04/04/2011
NPRM Comment Period Extended 04/04/2011 76 FR 18467
NPRM Comment Period End 04/18/2011
Notice of Public Hearing and Extension of Comment Period 05/04/2011 76 FR 25277
Notice of Public Hearing and Extension of Comment Period 06/20/2011 76 FR 35801
NPRM Comment Period End 06/30/2011
Comment Period End 08/01/2011
Final Action 04/00/2012
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined Government Levels Affected: None
Small Entities Affected: Businesses Federalism: No
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes
RIN Information URL: www.msha.gov/regsinfo.htm Public Comment URL: www.regulations.gov
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No
Agency Contact:
Roslyn B. Fontaine
Acting Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances
Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration
1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350,
Arlington, VA 22209-3939
Phone:202 693-9440
Fax:202 693-9441
Email: fontaine.roslyn@dol.gov