Recently, our industry has come under criticism from both the assistant secretary for mine safety and health and the solicitor of the Department of Labor because, according to them, the rate at which citations are being contested is too high. In fact, Assistant Secretary Stickler publicly accused the industry of “deliberate abuse” of its contest rights. I have to admit, I am a bit puzzled by this criticism. After all, everyone who receives a ticket of any kind has the absolute constitutional right to challenge it (indicated by the phrase, “This isn’t an admission of guilt, your signature merely indicates that you received the [insert here ticket, summons, citation, etc]”). Of course, neither the solicitor nor the assistant secretary meant that we shouldn’t have the right to contest citations. Instead, they must mean that some companies are unfairly taking advantage of that right by adopting a policy of contesting every citation MSHA issues, regardless of the merit.
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Reprinted with permission from Aggregates Manager