MSHA Training FAQs
Discover the answers to your most frequently asked questions about MSHA mine safety training from our team of experts.
What Does MSHA Stand For?
"MSHA" stands for the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
What Is MSHA?
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is an agency under the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that regulates safety in the mining industry. It was established in 1977, but its mine-regulating predecessors stretch back to 1910.
The MSHA has jurisdiction over workplace health and safety for all mining and mineral processing operations in the U.S., regardless of size, commodity, or extraction method. Essentially, it's the mining-specific version of OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
What Is MSHA Training?
Federal law requires that all miners receive basic safety training with an annual refresher. Mine operators are also required to train mine rescue teams.
What Are MSHA's Fines for Training Violations?
The formula for penalties is complicated, so it's difficult to say. MSHA (specifically, the Office of Assessments) takes five factors into account when assessing a fine on a mine operator or contractor:
- History of previous violations
- Size of the business
- Any negligence by the operator
- Gravity of the violation
- The operator’s good faith in trying to correct the violation promptly
If an operator submits information regarding the effect of a penalty on their ability to stay in business, the MSHA considers this, as well. You can see how these factors are weighted and calculated in 30 CFR Part 100.
If extreme danger or willful violation is involved, the Office of Assessments may use a more expensive Special Assessment system instead. And if the MSHA notices repeated violations that are "Significant & Substantial" (S&S), they can place the mine on a Pattern of Violation (POV). Further violations for mines on a POV can shut down operations.
MSHA fines begin at $135. The maximum for a flagrant violation is over a quarter-million dollars.
What Is MSHA Certification?
"MSHA Certification" has no official meaning as far as the agency is concerned. It's often used to indicate you completed an MSHA training course because a Certificate of Training or Certificate of Completion is issued at the end.
"MSHA Certification" may also be used to refer to MSHA instructor certification (meaning you are approved to teach mine safety courses). You can become a certified MSHA instructor by reaching out to your state's MSHA grant participant.
How Long Is MSHA Certification Good For?
The MSHA requires annual refreshers for its mandatory training programs.
How Do You Get MSHA Certification?
Usually, a mine operator provides training for you, but if not, you need to find a training provider qualified for the type of training you need.
If you're regulated by Part 48 rules (coal and underground mines), you need to find an MSHA-approved Instructor. These instructors are trained and approved by either the MSHA District Manager or by someone they designate.
If you're regulated by Part 46 rules (non-metal/surface mines), the trainers are NOT approved or qualified by MSHA. Instead, the mine operator or mining contractor designates a "competent person" per training subject. Each "competent person" needs the "ability, training, knowledge, or experience" to train miners in their area of expertise.
What Do Part 46 and Part 48 Mean to MSHA?
Part 46 and Part 48 refer to different sections of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) where these rules are cataloged. Title 30 of the code ("30 CFR") contains the rules related to mineral resources, including the MSHA's regulations. The code titles are then divided up into Volumes, Chapters, and Parts.
The MSHA's rules are under Title 30, Volume 1, Chapter 1, Parts 1-99. Each of the 99 "parts" contain a different topic in MSHA rules.
Part 46 is "Training and Retraining of Miners Engaged in Shell Dredging, or Employed at Sand, Gravel, Surface Stone, Surface Clay, Colloidal Phosphate, or Surface Limestone Mines." It contains the training requirements for non-metal/non-coal surface operations.
Part 48 is "Training and Retraining of Miners," and Part 48 defines "miner" as anyone working at an underground metal or coal mine (more or less—the definition is long). So, Part 48 contains the training requirements for underground metal or coal mine employees. Even if you only work in surface operations for one of these types of mines, Part 48 rules apply.
Who Needs Part 46 New Miner Training?
Part 46 New Miner Training is for new surface miners and surface mining contractors.
If you work in surface nonmetal mines (like shell dredging, sand, gravel, surface stone, surface clay, colloidal phosphate, and surface limestone mines) and you're not an "experienced miner" by MSHA standards, you need this course.
Additionally, operations that produce marble, granite, sandstone, slate, shale, traprock, kaolin, cement, feldspar, and lime should also complete the program, even though Part 46 doesn't specifically mention these operations.
What Are MSHA's Part 46 New Miner Training Requirements?
MSHA Part 46 requires that new miners complete at least 24 hours of training within their first 90 days of employment. At least 4 hours of the training must be completed before they begin to work at the mine.
What Are MSHA's Training Refresher Requirements?
Part 48 has its own rules. But Part 46 requires all surface miners or contractors to complete at least 8 hours of annual refresher training a year. The refresher needs to include any changes in operation that could adversely affect your health and safety.
How Does MSHA Know Your Part 46 New Miner Training Is Complete?
Once your classes are done and you've downloaded Certificates of Completion, download and complete the MSHA 5000-23 Certificate of Training Form from the MSHA website. You'll need to add your mine or independent contractor name, their identification number, and the name of the competent person who can verify the training you received.
Generally, the form is signed by the Mine Operator or a person acting on behalf of the operator. For example, a company safety official, a trainer employed or contracted by the operator, or a cooperative instructor (such as a state grantee).
How Do You Become an MSHA Inspector?
You become a mine inspector for the MSHA by applying through their Mine Inspector Hiring Program.
You need to demonstrate mining industry experience under more than one of the following categories:
- Roof Control/Ground Control
- Worksite Safety Inspections
- Worksite Environmental Conditions.
You also need to pass a math test and a writing assessment. If you're interested in being an Electrical Inspector, you'll also be given an electrical test.