WASHINGTON, D.C. | April 27, 2012
I respectfully request information and documents relating to the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) efforts to stop advanced notice of a mine inspection.
Under the Mine Act, “any person who gives advance notice of any inspection to be conducted under [the Mine Safety Act] shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.” Similarly, under section 813(a) of the Mine Act, MSHA inspectors are forbidden from giving advance notice of an inspection. Unfortunately, advanced notice of mine inspections continues to be a problem.
On March 27, 2012, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing to examine the findings of investigations related to the Upper Big Branch (UBB) tragedy. In that case, mine operator Massey Energy unlawfully provided advanced notice of safety and health inspections. While Massey’s actions are deplorable, recent testimony provided by former UBB mine supervisor Gary May alleges MSHA personnel also provided advanced notice of inspections. Specifically, May stated that “sometimes they [MSHA] would tell us…they’d be back tomorrow or where they were going.”
To read the rest of the letter, click here.
To read the department's May 29, 2012 response, click here.