The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) revised its Pattern of Violations (POV) standard in 2013 to improve enforcement and compliance. The updated rule, which is estimated to prevent nearly 1,800 injuries over 10 years, has led to a significant drop in habitual violators since the implementation of safety reforms. How were mine operators able to determine if they showed patterns of significant and substantial (S&S) violations before it’s too late? Read on to find out!
What is the POV Standard?
Under the Mine Act of 1977, MSHA is required to issue a POV notice to mine operators who exhibit recurring patterns of health or safety violations that may lead to serious illnesses or injuries. The POV standard specifies MSHA’s criteria and streamlines the procedures for identifying such safety violators.
How does it work?
To determine if a pattern of violation exists, MSHA must review the injury and violation history of every mine under its jurisdiction at least once a year. A mine will be considered for a POV if it meets either of MSHA’s two sets of criteria in the initial screening:
- 50 or more citations for S&S violations were issued in the last 12 months.
- The rate of S&S citations/orders issued per 100 hours of inspection is 8 or more during the last 12 months. Or the degree of negligence is considered “high or reckless disregard” for at least 25 percent of all the S&S citations issued in the past 12 months.
- The elevated citations and orders* issued per 100 hours of inspection is at least 0.5 during the last 12 months.
- The injury severity measure for the mine (in the last 12 months) exceeds the most recent 5-year industry severity measure for its corresponding mine type and classification.
- 100 or more S&S citations were issued in the last 12 months.
- A minimum of 40 elevated citations and orders* were issued during the last 12 months.
MSHA will give a written notice to mine operators who have a POV. Why is this a big deal? Because for every succeeding S&S violation, MSHA will order the mine operator to withdraw all miners from the affected area until the cited violation or condition has been rectified. The POV notice will only be terminated when:
- MSHA has completed a mine inspection and no S&S violations were identified.
- MSHA has not given a withdrawal order (in line with Section 104(e)(1) of the Mine Act) within 90 calendar days of the issuance of the POV notice.
Can mine operators monitor their pattern of violations?
Yes! The revised rule encourages mine operators to consistently evaluate their compliance efforts and address hazardous trends. To determine if they are subject to a POV notice, mine operators can take advantage of two online tools from MSHA:
- POV Monitoring Tool: This user-friendly tool allows mine operators to track if they are at risk of meeting MSHA’s criteria of violations. Simply input the 7-digit MSHA Mine ID and the application will determine if the mine meets the conditions for a potential POV. MSHA’s enforcement data is updated monthly, so mine operators can make the necessary adjustments before things get out of hand.
- S&S Rate Calculator: Mine operators who want to develop a corrective action program to reduce their S&S rate can use this calculator. It is a complementary application to the POV monitoring tool. The data for this monitoring application is refreshed on a daily basis.
Be one step ahead of regulatory issues by maximizing these self-monitoring tools and other online MSHA safety training solutions. Contact 360training.com to learn the essentials of MSHA regulations without the hassle!
*as listed on section 104(b); 104(d); 104(g); or 107(a) of the Mine Act