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ARLINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration published two proposed rules in the Federal Register Sept. 12 that would change the agency’s final rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines that was published Jan. 23.

The first proposed rule would make limited changes to the final rule. The proposed changes would require that an examination of the working place be conducted before work begins or as miners begin work in that place, and that the examination record include descriptions of adverse conditions that are not corrected promptly and the dates of corrective action for these conditions.

It would provide mine operators additional flexibility in managing their safety and health programs and reduce regulatory burdens without reducing the protections afforded miners. The proposed rule would continue to permit mine operators with consecutive shifts or those that operate on a 24-hour, 365-day basis to conduct an examination on the previous shift.

MSHA will hold four public hearings, including one in Salt Lake City on Oct. 26, on the proposed rule. Each hearing will begin at 9 a.m. local time.

Comments on the proposed changes to the final rule must be received by midnight EST on Nov. 13.

The second proposed rule would further delay the effective date of the final rule. The proposed extension would offer additional time for MSHA to provide stakeholders training and compliance assistance.

Comments on the proposed extension must be received by midnight EDT on Sept. 26.

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