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MSHA Information Quality Guidelines

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued government-wide information quality guidelines in accordance with Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure and maximize the quality, utility, objectivity, and integrity of information disseminated by Federal agencies. The guidelines direct each Federal agency to issue its own Section 515 guidelines. As part of the Department of Labor, MSHA follows DOL's information quality guidelines, as well as the OMB guidelines.

Information Quality Assurance Process

MSHA has adopted well-established quality assurance techniques to ensure the quality of information disseminated. Information is subject to internal agency quality control and audit, and any appropriate Department level reviews, before being disseminated to the public. When MSHA posts information on its web site, it adheres to DOL's Public Web Site Review and Clearance Process. MSHA's quality assurance techniques and methods include certification of information prior to official release to ensure that erroneous data are not released or to identify data of marginal quality.

As part of its commitment to information quality, MSHA encourages communication with its users. MSHA fosters discussions with the public at large by making it easy to reach staff by a variety of formats, including phone, mail, and email. MSHA encourages those with questions or concerns about information the agency publishes to notify the contact person specifically identified in most published documents.

How to submit an information quality correction request to MSHA:

Persons who believe that MSHA has disseminated information that does not meet its guidelines, or those of the DOL or OMB and who wish to follow a formal complaint process, may send their complaint to Syed Hafeez, Director, Program Evaluation and Information Resources. Notification may be by email to, telephone (202) 693-9753 - or sent directly to Mr. Hafeez at MSHA,  201 12th Street South, Arlington, VA 22202.

Persons wishing to file a complaint relating to the quality of information disseminated by MSHA should:

  • Identify themselves and indicate where and how they may be reached;
  • Identify, as specifically as possible, the information in question;
  • Indicate how they are affected by the information about which they are complaining;
  • Carefully describe the nature of the complaint, including an explanation of why they believe the information does not comply with Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Departmental, or agency specific guidelines; and
  • Describe the change requested and the reason why the agency should make the change.

Exclusion of this information may result in a complainant not receiving an adequate response to the complaint or greatly reduce the usefulness or timeliness of any response. Complainants should be aware that they bear the burden of establishing that they are affected persons and showing the need and justification for the correction they are seeking, including why the information being complained about does not comply with applicable guidelines.

How to make an administrative appeal:

If a complainant is dissatisfied with the initial response to a complaint, he or she may submit an appeal. A complainant may appeal within forty five days of the date the agency notified them how it would handle the complaint or one hundred and five days from the date on which the agency first received the complaint, whichever is later. The appeal request should contain the same contact and descriptive information that was provided in the original complaint and the specific reasons why the initial agency response was not satisfactory. Once an appeal decision has been rendered MSHA will notify the affected person.

These guidelines do not apply to the following:

  • Information intended to be limited to distribution to government employees, or DOL contractors, or grantees;
  • Government information intended to be limited to intra- or inter-agency use or sharing of information, such as strategic plans, performance plans, program reports, operating plans, or budgets;
  • Responses to requests for Departmental records under the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, or other similar laws;
  • Correspondence or other communications with individuals or organizations;
  • Press releases (except where the press release itself is the primary source of the information);
  • Congressional testimony;
  • Archival records;
  • Public filings;
  • Subpoenas or adjudicative processes;
  • Information clearly represented as opinion and not an official agency or Departmental representation;
  • Policy guidance recommendations or statements or summaries of agency policies, procedures, or programs;
  • Statements of legal policy or interpretation; and
  • Final agency decisions, settlements in litigation and descriptions of these settlements, or determinations of legal force and effect, such as wage determinations.