From 2000 to 2008, the total amount of elevated enforcement actions taken by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for both coal and metal/nonmetal increased 67% from 3,222 in 2000 to 5,393 in 2008. Anyone operating a mine last year knows that we should expect yet another increase when we see the numbers for 2009. Allegations of unwarrantable failures and 104(d) paper are on the rise; hence, operators are seeing more and more special investigators at their door seeking to conduct 110(c) investigations to determine whether an agent of an operator knowingly ordered, authorized or carried out a violation of a mandatory safety or health standard. Under section 110(c) of the Act, criminal and civil penalties may be issued against an agent if there are positive findings of a violation being knowing or willful in nature.
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Reprinted with permission from Coal Age Magazine.