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How do I contest a citation or order issued by MSHA for a mandatory health or safety violation before a penalty is assessed?

When an MSHA inspector issues a citation or order under Section 104 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act), a mine operator has 30 days in which to file a notice of contest with the Secretary of Labor at the Solicitor's Office (Mine Safety and Health Division in Arlington, Virginia or the appropriate Regional Solicitor's Office) and to file a copy of such notice of contest with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. An operator may also challenge the modification of a citation or order, as well as the reasonableness of the length of time for abatement. A notice of contest must contain: (1) a short and plain statement of the operator's position regarding each issue of law and fact and the relief requested and (2) a copy of the contested citation or order. An operator's failure to file a notice of contest of a citation or order issued under Section 104 of the Mine Act will not preclude the operator from challenging, in a civil penalty proceeding, the fact of violation or any special findings contained in a citation or order, including the assertion in the citation or order that the violation was of a significant and substantial nature or was caused by the operator's unwarrantable failure to comply with the standard.