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Miners’ Rights The Miners’ rights and responsibilities under the Federal mine safety and health act of 1977 Larry R Harshbarger Heritage Group Safety Federal Mine Safety & Health Act of 1977, Public Law 91-173, as amended by Public Law 95-164 An Act Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That this Act may be cited as the "Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977". SEC. 2. Congress declares that-- (a) the first priority and concern of all in the mining industry must be the health and safety of its most precious resource--the miner; (b) deaths and serious injuries from unsafe and unhealthful conditions and practices in the mines cause grief and suffering to the miners and to their families; Federal Mine Safety & Health Act of 1977, Public Law 91-173, as amended by Public Law 95-164 An Act (c)there is an urgent need to provide more effective means and measures for improving the working conditions and practices in the Nation's mines in order to prevent death and serious physical harm, and in order to prevent occupational diseases originating in such mines; (d)the existence of unsafe and unhealthful conditions and practices in the Nation's mines is a serious impediment to the future growth of the mining industry and cannot be tolerated; Federal Mine Safety & Health Act of 1977, Public Law 91-173, as amended by Public Law 95-164 An Act (e)the operators of such mines with the assistance of the miners have the primary responsibility to prevent the existence of such conditions and practices in such mines; (f)the disruption of production and the loss of income to operators and miners as a result of mine accidents or occupationally caused diseases unduly impedes and burdens commerce; Mine Health and Safety Administration • MSHA was established to develop and enforce all health and safety standards. 30 CFR • These standards or laws cover all the regulations in all of the mines in the United States. Enforcement Of The Act Federal Mine Title 30 - MSHA Safety & Health Code of Federal Enforcement Act of 1977 Regulations Operators Administrative Federal Mine S & H and Law Judge Review Miners Appeal (ALJ) Commission Federal Appeals Court Miners’ Rights • A good safety program depends on active participation and interest of everyone at the work site. • The Act gives miners & their representatives many rights because Congress wants to encourage them to take an active, responsible role in safety & health matters. • If miners take advantage of these rights, they can help decrease workplace deaths, injuries and illnesses. 1. Inspection Participation The right to have a representative of the miners accompany federal inspectors during inspections at a mine. – Can provide inspector with useful information – Better understand the Act’s safety requirements – Suffer no loss of pay 2. Request Inspection The right to obtain an inspection where there are reasonable grounds that an imminent danger or violation exists. – Work with management first – Notice by telephone, letter, fax, e-mail – If circumstances warrant, MSHA will inspect mine – Will receive written notice if MSHA decides not to inspect 3. The Right To Pay The right to pay during certain periods of time when a mine has been closed because of a withdrawal order. – Compensation is paid for balance of shift, up to 4 hours of next shift, up to 1 week for non-compliance, or double pay if withdrawal notice is ignored – Compensation complaints may be filed with MSHA 4. Discrimination The right to be protected from any discrimination based on the exercise of rights given by the Act. – It is illegal for a miner to be fired, transferred to lower paying job, not hired, harassed, or lose job benefits for: • Filing a complaint • Instituting, testifying, or assisting any proceeding • Subjected to a medical evaluation leading to a transfer • Being withdrawn from mine for not having mandatory safety training 5. Training The right to receive safety and health training. – All miners must receive training in: • 24 hour new miner training • 8 hour annual refresher • Newly hired experienced miners • New task training • Site specific hazard training 5. Training (Continued) The right to receive safety and health training. – Normal pay during training – Training during normal working hours – Receive a training certificate – A copy of training certificate when leaving the company 6. Legal Proceedings The right to be informed of, and to participate in, enforcement and legal proceedings under the Act. – May contest MSHA enforcement actions – Right to receive a copy of orders, notices & citations issued at the mine – A bulletin board available for posting of orders, notices and citations 7. Medical Rights The right to Health Protection under the Act. – Annual Audiograms – Medical examinations for miners exposed to toxic materials Miners’ Responsibilities • Assisting the operators to achieve safe work conditions • Report all safety hazards • Know and obey all of the company safety rules • Not making false statements and false representations • Not smoking in prohibited areas Conclusion • Although it is the mine operators responsibility to provide safe and healthful conditions in their mines, it was the intention of Congress in passing this law, and MSHA in implementing it, to involve the miners in mine safety and health. Conclusion • A mine safety and health program is only as effective as the hazard awareness it instills in everyone. • Remember, it is your life and health we are trying to protect, so don’t deny yourself the opportunity to get involved. Help us and help yourself.