Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines and Pattern of Violations

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

ACTION:

Proposed rule; notice of public hearing; notice of extension of comment period.

SUMMARY:

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will hold additional public hearings on the Agency's proposed rules for Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines (Examinations of Work Areas) and for Pattern of Violations.

DATES:

The hearings will be held on July 12, 2011, at the location listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

Post-hearing comments must be received or postmarked by midnight Eastern Daylight Saving Time on August 1, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

The public hearings will be held at The Forum at the Hal Rogers Center, 101 Bulldog Lane, Hazard, Kentucky.

Comments, requests to speak, and informational materials for the rulemaking record may be sent to MSHA by any of the following methods. Clearly identify all submissions with “RIN 1219-AB75” for Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines' submissions, and with “RIN 1219-AB73” for Pattern of Violations' submissions.

  • Federal E-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • Electronic mail: http://zzMSHA-comments@dol.gov. Include “RIN 1219-AB75” in the subject line of the message for Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines and “RIN 1219-AB73” for Pattern of Violations.
  • Facsimile: 202-693-9441.
  • Mail or Hand Delivery: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Blvd., Room 2350, Arlington, VA 22209-3939. For hand delivery, sign in at the receptionist's desk on the 21st floor.
Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Roslyn B. Fontaine, Acting Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, at fontaine.roslyn@dol.gov (e-mail); 202-693-9440 (voice); or 202-693-9441 (facsimile).

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Availability of Information

Federal Register Publications: The proposed rule for Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines, published on December 27, 2010 (75 FR 81165), and the proposed rule for Pattern of Violations, published on February 2, 2011 (76 FR 5719), are available on http://www.regulations.gov and on MSHA's Web site at http://www.msha.gov/​REGSPROP.HTM.

Public Comments: MSHA posts all comments without change, including any personal information provided. Access comments electronically on http://www.regulations.gov and on MSHA's Web site at http://www.msha.gov/​currentcomments.asp. Review comments in person at the Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Blvd., Room 2350, Arlington, VA. Sign in at the receptionist's desk on the 21st floor.

E-mail Notification: To subscribe to receive e-mail notification when MSHA publishes rulemaking documents in the Federal Register, go to http://www.msha.gov/​subscriptions/​subscribe.aspx.

II. Public Hearings

MSHA held four public hearings on its proposed rules for Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines and for Pattern of Violations. In response to a request from the public, MSHA will hold one additional public hearing on its proposed rules for Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines and for Pattern of Violations. Requests to speak at a hearing should be made prior to the hearing date. You do not have to make a written request to speak; however, persons and organizations wishing to speak are encouraged to notify MSHA in advance for scheduling purposes. MSHA requests that parties making presentations at the hearings submit their presentations to MSHA, including any documentation, no later than 5 days prior to the hearing.

The public hearing for the Examinations of Work Areas proposal will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the public hearing for the Pattern of Violations proposal will begin immediately following the conclusion of the public hearing on the Examinations of Work Areas proposal.

MSHA is holding the two hearings on Tuesday, July 12, 2011, at the following location:

DateLocationContact No.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011The Forum at the Hal Rogers Center, 101 Bulldog Lane, Hazard, Kentucky 41701City Hall: 606-436-3171.

Each hearing will begin with an opening statement from MSHA, followed by an opportunity for members of the public to make oral presentations. The hearings will be conducted in an informal manner. Formal rules of evidence will not apply. The hearing panel may ask questions of speakers and speakers may ask questions of the hearing panel. Speakers and other attendees may present information to MSHA for inclusion in the rulemaking record. MSHA also will accept written comments and other appropriate information for the record from any interested party, including those not presenting oral statements, until the close of the comment period on August 1, 2011.

MSHA will have a verbatim transcript of the proceedings taken for each Start Printed Page 35802hearing. Copies of the transcripts will be available to the public on http://www.regulations.gov and on MSHA's Web site at http://www.msha.gov/​tscripts.htm.

III. Pattern of Violations: Clarification

Section 104.2(a) of the Pattern of Violations (POV) proposed rule would provide that the specific criteria used in the review to identify mines with a pattern of significant and substantial violations would be posted on MSHA's website. In the preamble, MSHA requested specific comments on how the Agency should obtain comment during the development of, and periodic revision to, the POV screening criteria. At this point in the rulemaking, MSHA plans to provide any change to the specific criteria to the public, via posting on the Agency's Web site, for comment before MSHA uses it to review a mine for a POV. MSHA plans to review and respond to comments, and revise, as appropriate, the specific criteria, and post its response to the comments and the revised specific criteria on the Agency's website. MSHA requests comments on this proposed approach to obtaining public input into revisions to the specific POV criteria.

Under § 104.2(a)(8) of the POV proposal, MSHA stated in the preamble that an operator may submit a written safety and health management program to the district manager for approval so that MSHA can determine whether the program's parameters would result in meaningful, measurable, and significant reductions in significant and substantial violations. MSHA would like to clarify that the Agency did not intend that these safety and health management programs be the same as those referenced in the Agency's rulemaking on comprehensive safety and health management programs (RIN 1219-AB71), which has not yet been published as a proposed rule. Rather, a safety and health management program that would be considered by MSHA as a mitigating circumstance in the POV proposal would be one that: (1) Includes measurable benchmarks for abating specific violations that could lead to a POV at a specific mine; and (2) addresses hazardous conditions at that mine.

IV. Request for Comments

MSHA solicits comments from the mining community on all aspects of the proposed rules and is particularly interested in comments that address alternatives to key provisions in the proposals. Commenters are requested to be specific in their comments and submit detailed rationale and supporting documentation for any comment or suggested alternative.

Start Signature

Dated: June 15, 2011.

Joseph A. Main,

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2011-15250 Filed 6-17-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-43-P