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Proposed Legislative Changes Announced Today

Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Representative George Miller, Representative Lynn Woolsey, and Representative Nick Rahall have jointly proposed new legislative changes today.  The proposed changes include:

Change MSHA’s (Mine Safety and Health Adminstration) safety process from a primarily punitive to a rehabilitative process, which would include publicly posting Mine safety records on MSHA’s website.

Giving MSHA Appropriate Enforcement Tools

  • Give MSHA additional authority to order training.
  • Give MSHA authority to seek injunctions when there is a course of conduct that constitutes a continuing threat to the health and safety of miners.
  • Clarify the definition of a “significant and substantial” violation.
  • Give MSHA expanded authority to subpoena documents and testimony.
  • Increase maximum criminal and civil penalties.
  • Ensure that operators pay penalties in a timely manner.

Protecting Workers Who Speak Out About Unsafe Conditions

  • Strengthen protections for workers who speak out about unsafe conditions.
  • Ensure that miners don’t lose pay for safety-related closures.
  • Ensure that miners can speak freely during investigations.

In addition the proposal would expand to all industry to:

  • Ensure that all safety personnel are well-qualified.
  • Ensure that inspections are comprehensive and well-targeted.
  • Require pre-shift reviews of mine conditions, and communication to ensure that appropriate safety information is transmitted.
  • Reducing Safety Risks such as the risk of Coal Dust Explosions.
  • Increasing Safety in Other Workplaces that would provide similar protections in other workplaces covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

For details on the full proposal please click here

This proposal seems  right in line with the OSHA 6 year plan.  What do you think, will this help protect our workers?

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