The Mine Safety and Health Administration carries out annual inspections for health and safety compliance. Underground mines are inspected four times a year while surface mines have two annual inspections. Mines with higher levels of explosive or toxic gases will likely face more inspections and MSHA also conducts inspections as a response to any complaints of hazardous conditions.
The MSHA inspector will tour through the mine and look to see it is following all required safety policies and has the appropriate documentation on hand. Inspectors will look at the fire safety of a mine, the electrical safety, and how the safety of vehicle operators is being addressed. It will be important for mine operators to be prepared for an inspection and review safety practices periodically.
A mine operator can be prepared for an inspection with several different steps. Personnel should be designated to accompany the inspector on their tour. Ensure the Injury and Illness Prevention Program/Safety Program Manual is in a notebook or binder in the facility and the designated personnel are able to locate it. All records, reports, or identification documents should be up to date and everyone in the mine knows where they are kept. When the inspector arrives, check credentials and request an opening conference with the MSHA inspector and the chosen inspection team.
Like an OSHA inspection, A closing conference will end the inspection and the inspector will explain the violations and citations at this time. Following this, there are several actions a mine operator can take. If it is felt the citations were unjust or unfair, they have the opportunity to request a conference at the district level to discuss both violations and citations. Mine operators must pay fines in the allotted time period and must also remedy any issues found within a timely manner.
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