MSHA Issues Final Rule on Workplace Exams

NSSGA plans to seek relief from Trump administration

MSHA issued a final workplace exams rule today, after months of comments and opposition from NSSGA and member companies.

NSSGA is planning to seek the help of the incoming Trump administration to rescind or block the implementation of the rule because it does little to improve workplace safety. While the agency failed to estimate the rule’s benefits, NSSGA estimated conservatively that just the provisions mandating documentation of hazards would impose costs of at least $25 million just on small operators.

Though NSSGA has not had a chance to review the entire finalized rule, it calls for exams to be conducted before work begins in a work area – not before a shift begins. The rule mandates the prompt notification of affected miners of hazards not immediately corrected. Documentation of adverse conditions found on an exam, the dates that exams were conducted, abatements made and the name of the examiner are also required.

NSSGA is pleased that the proposal did not seek to redefine the term “competent person” conducting the exams. As NSSGA stated to the White House Office of Management and Budget in May 2016, thousands of operators have improved safety by empowering all employees to be guardians of workplace safety, and the proposed rule would have limited this trend.

NSSGA thanks those members and state associations who advocated against the rule since it was proposed on June 8, 2016.

The document is available at and will appear in the printed Federal Register on Jan. 23, 2017.

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