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MSHA Declares Week of February 20 "Focus on Safety Week"

Acting Administrator for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), David G. Dye, is asking metal and nonmetal mines nationwide to discuss good safety and health practices, risk assessment and hazard control with employees.

Acting Administrator for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), David G. Dye, is asking metal and nonmetal mines nationwide to discuss good safety and health practices, risk assessment and hazard control with employees.

"I am making a personal appeal to operators, managers and miners at every metal and nonmetal mining operation throughout the country to take some time to 'Focus on Safety,'" Dye said. "I encourage all mine operators to talk with their miners and managers about the importance of safety in their operations to ensure that their miners return to their families safe and healthy at the end of their shifts."

Dye is also asking metal and nonmetal mine operators to discuss safety practices with employees before each shift and before any mining activity begins through the week.

The number of fatal accidents rose from 27 in 2004 to 35 in 2005. Of the 27 fatalities that occurred, 13 involved mobile equipment and three were linked to conveyor belts. Nine of the victims in powered haulage accidents were not wearing seat belts.

The MSHA has also announced it intends to modernize regulations governing penalty assessments for violations of the Mine Safety and Health Act, or Mine Act. Proposed changes include revisions to the penalty structure and increases in penalties.

The six statutory criteria used to determine the assessed monetary penalty are:

  • The appropriateness of the penalty to the size of the business of the operator charged
  • The operator's history of previous violations
  • Whether the operator was negligent
  • The gravity of the violation
  • The demonstrated good faith in correcting the violations
  • The effect of the penalty on the operator's ability to continue in business
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