October 22, 2019

October 22, 2019

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October 21, 2019

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MSHA Officially Delays Effective Date of Workplace Examination Rule Until June 2018

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) officially delayed the effective date of the controversial “Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines” final rule by a full eight months to June 2, 2018 and temporarily reinstated the previous versions of the workplace examination rules – deemed 30 C.F.R. § 56.18002T and 30 C.F.R. § 57.18002T –  that were in effect as of October 1, 2017.

The final rule was scheduled to go into effect in May of this year, but the Agency delayed implementation until October 2, 2017.  As previously reported, on September 12, MSHA proposed to again delay the effective date of the Agency’s final rule by six months to allow additional time for training and compliance assistance.  After the two-week comment period closed, MSHA notified stakeholders that the effective date of the rule would be delayed until June 2, 2018.  The delay was published in the Federal Register on October 5, 2017.

MSHA reported that many commenters supported the further effective date delay, particularly while the Agency accepts comments on the proposed substantive changes to the final rule.  When MSHA proposed the delay to the October 2, 2017 effective date, the Agency simultaneously reopened the rulemaking record and proposed amendments to two sections of the final rule related to the timing of required workplace examinations and the contents of the examination record, as we described in a recent blog post.  MSHA is still accepting comments until November 13 on those proposed amendments.  Many stakeholders requested that the Agency postpone the effective date beyond the six month mark or indefinitely in order to ensure that industry has clarity on the requirements of any new final rule and that the Agency has time to meet its stated training and outreach objectives.  The Agency agreed with those commenters and believes that an eight-month delay until June 2, 2018 will provide sufficient time to ensure compliance readiness.

MSHA firmly rejected arguments made by labor union representatives that further delays in the effective date would have an adverse impact on miners’ health and safety, stating that “the standards that have been in effect for many years are reinstated and MSHA will continue to enforce those standards … [and] will proactively provide compliance assistance and training needed to assure that miners’ safety and health are protected.” 82 Fed. Reg. 46412 (Oct. 5, 2017).

MSHA will hold four public hearings on the proposed amendments to the final workplace examination rules in Arlington, Virginia (October 24, 2017); Salt Lake City, Utah (October 26, 2017); Birmingham, Alabama (October 31, 2017); and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (November 2, 2017).  Each hearing will begin at 9 a.m. local time.

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Anne Harrington Energy Attorney Denver Squire Patton Boggs
Associate

Anne Harrington counsels clients in the energy and natural resources industries on a wide range of regulatory, administrative and public policy concerns ranging from compliance with federal and state environmental, health and safety laws, to Western public lands laws, to obtaining regulatory approvals.

Additionally, she draws from her past experience as a legal analyst and compliance deputy for an international biopharmaceutical and vaccines company and her training in bioethics to represent healthcare and health data companies. She advises...

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Matthew C Cooper, Squire PB Litigation attorney
Senior Associate

Matthew Cooper utilizes his unique experience as a federal government trial lawyer and boutique employment firm litigator to provide pointed advice to employers dealing with environmental, safety and health (ESH) issues and general employment matters.

Matt’s ESH practice consists of helping employers navigate regulatory inspections, investigations, accidents and other crises management, as well as litigating a wide array of government enforcement actions, including both Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As an employment lawyer, he also litigates and counsels employers on a comprehensive range of workplace matters, including wage and hour compliance, agency audits and investigations, employment agreements, policy drafting and implementation, and discrimination, retaliation and whistleblower claims. 

Prior to joining the firm, Matt served as a judicial clerk for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, a trial lawyer for the US Department of Labor and a litigator for one of the country’s leading boutique employment law firms. 

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