The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission just concluded that an employer was being untruthful when it claimed that it did not provide advance warning to fellow workers about an imminent mine inspection, taking the extraordinary step of overturning an administrative law judge’s credibility determination and sending a warning to all employers. Yesterday’s decision in Secretary v. KenAmerican Resources upheld a violation of Section 103(a) of the Mine Act, which prohibits any person from giving advance notice of inspections, and offers a lesson about the proper way you should handle such inspections should an investigator descend on your workplace.
Harkening back to the “Blacklists” imposed by the Obama administration, Dr. David Michaels, former Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, urged the government to ban a construction contractor from work on public lands in a tweet this week after the company pleaded guilty on charges related to the death of a worker. But can the government even do that?
On June 11, 2019, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion vacating the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (“MSHA”) 2018 rule (“2018 Amendment”) entitled, Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines, codified at 30 C.F.R. § 56/57.18002, see 83 Fed. Reg. 15,055 (Apr. 9, 2018). In so doing, the D.C. Circuit ordered the reinstatement of MSHA’s January 23, 2017 version of the rule (“2017 Standard”), which revised the previously existing workplace examination standard at 30 C.F.R. § 56/57.18002.