January 31, 2012

MSHA begins 3rd phase of ‘Rules to Live By’ outreach and enforcement initiative

From: MSHA

ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today launched the third phase of an outreach and enforcement program designed to strengthen efforts to prevent mining fatalities. “Rules to Live By III: Preventing Common Mining Deaths” will focus on 14 safety standards that were chosen because violations related to each have been cited as contributing to at least five mining accidents and at least five deaths during the 10-year period of Jan. 1, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2010.

January 30, 2012

Refuge Alternative/Underground Coal Mines: MSHA Request for Comment on Information Collection Request Extension

Attached below is an MSHA notice that will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, January 31 requesting public comments on a planned extension of the Information Collection Request (ICR) for Refuge Alternatives for Underground Coal Mines.  Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, MSHA may not solicit information from ten or more private sector entities without approval from the Office of Management and Budget.  Such approval may not last longer than three years prior to being renewed. 

In the notice, the agency explains that, 

The Mine Safety and Health Administration is soliciting comments concerning the proposed extension of an existing information collection, OMB Control Number 1219- 0146, Refuge Alternatives for Underground Coal Mines

January 27, 2012

W.Va. coal mining symposium set for Feb.1-3

The Associated Press


More than 500 people are registered for the West Virginia Coal Mining Symposium in Charleston.

Guest speakers for the three-day event starting Wednesday include Joe Main, head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, and C.A. Phillips, director of the state Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training.

Wednesday focuses on regulatory and technical issues, and includes a discussion about MSHA enforcement with coal administrator Kevin Stricklin.

Lawyers will discuss proposed federal safety laws and criminal liability issues in the wake of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster, which killed 29 West Virginia miners in 2010.

January 25, 2012

NIOSH Workshop Provides Practical Guidance on Preventing Coal Dust Explosions

Researchers at NIOSH’s Office of Mine Safety and Health Research discussed the importance of MSHA’s new 80% Incombustible Content standard for neutralizing coal dust. The Workshop which took place at NIOSH/OMSHR’s Bruceton research facility outside Pittsburgh was also webcast to ensure that as many interested persons as possible were able to see the presentations and ask questions.

Of particular note, the Workshop discussed use of the Coal Dust Explosivity Meter (CDEM) which provides a simply, easy to use and fast method of determining whether the sampled section of the mine is adequately rock dusted.  Rather than providing a detailed analysis of the coal/rock dust mixture in the sample, it provides a practial green/red indication of whether there is an unacceptable hazard of a coal dust explosion that needs to be redressed.

Leadership Lessons: Joseph Main, Mine Safety and Health Administration

From: Government Executive

By Paul R. Lawrence and Mark A. Abramson

Suzanne Glassman

This is the third in a series of profiles based on interviews for the book Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011) by Paul R. Lawrence and Mark A. Abramson, which highlights the management lessons of 24 political executives during their first 18 months in the Obama administration.