Search Results Archives: September 2011

September 27, 2011

HHS rewards innovative bureaucrats for miners’ safety lamps, more

Editor’s Note: For more information, please see HHS’ discussion of NIOSH’s innovative safety technology on the Mine Safety IPD’s Safety Technologies Forum.

From: The Hill

By Julian Pecquet

The Department of Health and Human Services on Monday recognized six winners and runners-up in a semi-annual contest aimed at sparking innovation within the agency’s sprawling bureaucracy.

Winners of the HHSinnovates program include designers of a cap lamp that has greatly improved the ability for mine workers around the world to detect floor hazards and peripheral obstacles. Other winners helped create a national database for autism research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Vital Signs” program for disseminating scientific information to professionals and the general public.

September 22, 2011

MSHA Requests Comments on Information Collection Extension: Automatic Fire Sensor and Warning Device Systems; Examination and Test Requirements

Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), MSHA is not allowed to collect information without approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  The approval process requires that MSHA solicit public comments on the burden and utility of the proposed collection of information.  Under the PRA, MSHA is required to seek approval to renew previously authorized  information collections every three years.

MSHA is now soliciting comments on their proposed renewal of an information collection that the agency states “intended to help protect miners by assuring that MSHA inspectors can verify that automatic fire sensor and warning device systems are maintained and calibrated and will function properly when needed.”

September 16, 2011

Data Show Safety Levels Improving at Coal Mines

From: Wall Street Journal


Government data suggest U.S. coal mines have grown safer in the 18 months since an underground explosion killed 29 West Virginia miners, with industry and federal officials attributing the improvement to increased enforcement of regulations and better training by mining companies themselves.

Safety violations at coal mines fell 5% per inspection hour through the third quarter of 2011 compared with the violation rate in 2010, according to figures compiled by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Serious violations involving more than ordinary negligence, such as failing to repair a methane monitor previously cited by an inspector, fell 12%.

September 9, 2011

Grants pay for miner training


Reported by: Mel Carlock

ARLINGTON, Va. (WTVA) — A federal agency is awarding over $8.4 million in grants for health and safety training at the nation’s mines.

The U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration will train and retrain workers at surface and underground coal, metal, nonmetal, shell dredging, gravel, sand, and surface stone mines.

The program will also instruct miners on their rights under the law and help mine rescue teams be prepared in the event of an emergency.

The grants are split among 47 states and the Navajo Nation.

September 2, 2011

Proposed Rule for Proximity Detection Systems Instead of Emergency Temporary Standard, MSHA Holding Public Hearings

Editor’s Note:  MSHA deserves praise for modifying their regulatory plans in order to adhere to President Obama’s Executive Order on regulatory review. 

MSHA has issued for public comment “a proposed rule requiring that continuous mining machines used in underground coal mines be equipped with proximity detection systems. Proximity detection refers to a technology that can be installed on mining machinery to detect the presence of personnel or other machinery within a certain distance. These systems can be programmed to send warning signals and stop machine movement when the programmed areas are breached.”

Comments on the proposed rule are due by November 14, 2011.