NPR Article Highlights MSHA Enforcement Efforts

Posted by Natalie Patten on 1/19/15 11:51 AM

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MSHAThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is a Federal Government agency that administers the provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and enforces compliance with safety and health standards as a means to prevent safety accidents and health hazards in the nation’s mines. MSHA inspects mines for safety and health violations and assigns the mine operators or contractors a penalty for each violation. MSHA successfully collects about 90% of the penalties and is committed to using the enforcement tools at its disposal to continue to increase safety and health outcomes in the mining industry. Some operators, however, fail to pay their fines, accruing large amounts of debt.

A recent NPR article that discussed MSHA’s enforcement actions against these delinquent operators mentioned a “better early warning system,” which Summit is helping MSHA to develop. Summit uses predictive modeling and statistical sampling techniques to develop an interactive tool that uses MSHA’s administrative data and external financial data to provide a risk score on mines and operators. The risk score is based on the likelihood that the mine's violation penalty will be delinquent for more than 90 days, as well as the length of time that the penalty will remain unpaid. This tool will provide MSHA an early warning on the mines and operators’ delinquency tendency to their violation penalties so that MSHA can take appropriate enforcement actions in time.

The Summit team serving on this project realizes the great impact of this enforcement effort on our nation's mine workers' safety, but it's good to see that the project is getting some media attention.

Photo credit: MSHA website, "History of Mine Rescue"

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