Improving the work conditions of miners is a life or death priority for many legislators, employers, and miners themselves. The mining industry has come a long way from the early days of the industrial revolution’s lethal mining disasters that resulted in thousands of worker deaths. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and industry stakeholders, unnecessary deaths and injuries have significantly decreased.
The MINER Act
Work is still needed to bring the fatality and injury toll from 2.73 per 200,000 hours worked to none. In an attempt to reduce these injuries and fatalities, the government established the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act), the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act). These acts include guidelines on new safety procedures, the use of new and state-of-the-art mining equipment, and further emphasize the importance of Part 48 and Part 46 training for miners.
Per MSHA, the Mine Act and the MINER Act requires employers to “take an active, responsible role” when it comes to mine safety and health. Section 105 (c) of the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 specifically addresses discriminatory practices against miners, would-be miners and their representatives, as well as safety and health concerns at work locations. Basically, anyone who’s working at a mine, whether as a temporary or full-time worker, is covered by the act.
What Rights are Included in the MINERS Act?
Miners’ rights are a laundry list of rules and regulations focused on preserving the health and well-being of workers through organized training, the observation of proper workplace safety procedures, as well as regular medical evaluations. According to the MINERS act, some of these rights include:
- Receiving training for Part 48 and 46
- The ability to file a complaint about your employer’s violation of MSHA rules
- Receiving medical evaluation or the right to be transferred to another location due to health considerations
- Being paid for lost hours after being withdrawn from a mine for lack of required safety training
What are the Miner’s Responsibilities Included in the MINERs Act?
Although the majority of the MINER Act focuses on the rights a miner has, there is a section that highlights the responsibilities a minor has, in order to be protected under the MINER Act. As expected, miners have to comply with federal and state laws, MSHA’s rules and regulations and those of their employer.
If work conditions are unsafe, miners must notify their employer and give them a chance to address the hazards before complaining to the MSHA. If an employer has violated some MSHA regulations, these violations must be reported, and based on facts, not on assumptions.
Complete Your MSHA Part 46 Surface Miner Training
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