2019/20 Developments: MSHA Standards Changes You Need To Know

Every year, the Mine Safety and Health Administration makes several rule changes that will affect businesses in the coming years. Being proactive about updating company practices can help your team more steadily adapt to the changes without risking the fines that accompany noncompliance.

Seeking Data on Quartz Exposure

Respirable silica or quartz is one of the major rulemaking focal points of MSHA currently. On August 28th 2019, the Department of Labor announced a request for information regarding exposure to quartz dust. In particular, the department was examining a possible reduced permissible exposure limit, potential new protective technologies and possible training assistance.

The RFI period lasted for 60 days and ended in October 2019. Although the results of this RFI have not yet been announced, it is likely that some rule changes will come. Additionally, it is possible that some updates to MSHA part 48 training may be necessary.

Training Grants

In 2006, Congress passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act. Among other initiatives, this act established grants to help improve mine safety. On September 6, MSHA announced that it is awarding five organizations with grants totaling $400,000. The stated goal of these grants was to help improve safety education and training resources.

All five grants went to colleges and universities that are developing training modules for mining. The topics covered by the proposed training include powered haulage, hazards with mobile equipment visibility, designing and maintaining berms, pre-shift examinations of equipment, mine rescues and recovery, conveyor and mobile equipment interactions and emergency preparedness.

These training modules appear to be in line with the current MSHA 48 and 46 training. Therefore, don’t expect to be required to make changes based on these developments. However, they may help make training more effective and easier.

Examinations of Working Places

In 2017, MSHA published a rule requiring workplace examinations by a site safety professional or another competent person as well as appropriate corrective action and notification for any issues. This rule was challenged in court but was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. It went into full effect on September 30.

Get Expert Help

Keeping up with all the rules and regulations that affect mining operations can be challenging. It can help to have an external consultant audit your safety practices and training. Construction Safety Experts provides in-depth consulting as well as onsite safety staffing and other services. 

Contact us online or call either (866) 463-0669 or (919) 463-0669 to learn more about how we can help you stay compliant with all MSHA rules today!