CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The Mine Safety and Health
Administration is adopting a new conferencing system tested with
mine operators this year to keep reducing the backlog of contested
Director Joe Main said in October that both sides liked the
pilot program, but he was still evaluating whether it could
continue. On Thursday, he said it will.
Starting in January, operators can request a conference on a
contested citation or order after MSHA proposes a fine.
Main says conferencing will help reduce the backlog by resolving
disputes before they end up in litigation. It should also help
improve communication among operators, miners and MSHA.
Each MSHA district will implement the system based on its
resources. That means it could occur slowly or not at all in some
places until caseloads are more manageable.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)