Aggregates Manager

September 2014

Aggregates Manager Digital Magazine

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AGGREGATES MANAGER September 2014 3 by Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief PROPOSED RULE O n July 31, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that significantly changes existing civil penalty regulations and could have a dramatic impact on compliance costs for aggregate producers. Operators have until Sept. 29 to submit comments about the rule, and this is one of those cases when everyone needs to ensure their voice is heard. Although the proposed rule is being billed by MSHA as a way to streamline the process and reduce inspector subjectivity, it will increase the weight of penalty points — and, therefore, fines — related to violation history, negligence, and severity of penalty. Through analysis of 121,100 violations that received regular formula assessment penalties during 2013, MSHA concluded that the overall revenue generated under the proposed rule would be comparable to existing revenues. However, there is a significant shift in how those penalties will be generated. The 2013 penalties for metal/non-metal operators would rise from $25.8 million under the existing rule to $27.0 million under the new one. In addition, the average penalty would increase from $459 to $480. It's also important to note that the agency's analysis is based solely on 2013 data, which reflects the lowest number of civil penalties assessed in recent history. For example, there were 140,839 penalties assessed in 2012 and a near-term high of 198,605 penalties assessed in 2008. The agency is also seeking to expand its authority. Based on the language in the proposed rule, it is clear that the agency is not happy that 1) a high number of citations are contested, and 2) the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has reduced the assessed penalty amounts by an average of 15 percent in recent years. MSHA pitched several options, none of which appeared appealing. There is a lot not to like about the proposed rule, but one comment I did agree with can be found on page 44512 of the Federal Register: "MSHA determined that there were noticeable differences in the way inspectors evaluated subjective factors such as the likelihood of the cited condition or practice causing an accident, the expected severity of any injury the condition might cause, and the degree of negligence attributed to the mine operator in allowing the condition to occur." Finally, the agency has confirmed what the aggregate industry has known for some time. Moving forward, the challenge is to ensure that penalties are determined in a fair and consistent manner that truly and transparently improves safety. For more on how to enhance safety at your site, be sure to read Zach Knoop's insightful suggestions on page 30. September 2014 Vol. 19, No. 9 /AggregatesManager @AggMan_editor Editorial Editor-in-Chief: Therese Dunphy Editorial Director: Marcia Gruver Doyle Online Editor: Wayne Grayson Online Managing Editor: Brian Ethridge Design & Production Art Director: Sandy Turner, Jr. Production Designer: Timothy Smith Advertising Production Manager: Linda Hapner Construction Media Senior VP, Construction Media: Dan Tidwell VP of Sales, Construction Media: Joe Donald 3200 Rice Mine Rd NE Tuscaloosa, AL 35406 800-633-5953 Corporate Chairman/CEO: Mike Reilly President: Brent Reilly Chief Process Officer: Shane Elmore Chief Administration Officer: David Wright Senior Vice President, Sales: Scott Miller Senior Vice President, Editorial and Research: Linda Longton Vice President of Events: Stacy McCants Vice President, Audience Development: Prescott Shibles Vice President, Digital Services: Nick Reid Vice President, Marketing: Julie Arsenault For change of address and other subscription inquiries, please contact: Aggregates Manager TM magazine (ISSN 1552-3071) is published monthly by Randall-Reilly Publishing Company copyright 2014. Executive and Administrative offices, 3200 Rice Mine Rd. N.E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406. Subscription rates: $24 annually, Non-domestic $125 annually. Single copies: $7. We assume no responsibility for the validity of claims of manufacturers in any advertisement or editorial product information or literature offered by them. Publisher reserves the right to refuse non-qualified subscriptions. Periodical circulation postage paid at Tuscaloosa, Alabama and additional entries. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage retrieval system, without written permission of the copyright owner. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 507.1.5.2); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to Aggregates Manager, 3200 Rice Mine Road N.E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406. Time to Chime in on To get more information, visit • Proposed rule summary and analysis • Federal Register link • Comment link

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