The department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration has created a new online tool for the mining industry. The S&S Rate Calculator enables mine operators who have implemented a corrective action program to determine if their mines are successfully reducing their significant and substantial, or S&S, violations.
An S&S violation of a mandatory health or safety standard is one that “significantly and substantially contributes to the cause and effect of a coal or other mine safety or health hazard.” It is the mine operator’s responsibility to track its violation and injury histories to determine whether it needs to take action to comply with mine safety laws and protect miners, as well as to not trigger a notice from MSHA of a pattern of violations, or “POV.”
In January, MSHA published a final rule revising the pattern of violations regulation. The rule provides mine operators who may be approaching POV status the opportunity to implement a corrective action program, and MSHA may consider a mine operator’s effective implementation of an MSHA-approved corrective action program as a mitigating circumstance in its POV review. For mines in POV status, each S&S violation will result in a withdrawal order until a complete inspection finds no S&S violations.
The online calculator is an enhancement to MSHA’s Pattern of Violations Monitoring Tool, which allows mine operators, miners and stakeholders to measure a mine’s performance against MSHA’s specific screening criteria for violations. The calculator allows users to determine a mine’s rate of S&S violations for any specific date range, and users need only the mine’s 7-digit ID to find data.
You can find the calculator and additional information here.
Joseph Main is the assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.