MSHA focus shifting to surface mine safety in 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Federal inspectors will soon focus on
identifying violations of 14 safety standards that regulators say
are commonly behind mining accidents and fatalities.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration unveiled its latest
"Rules to Live By" initiative Tuesday.

MSHA chief Joe Main says 11 of the 14 regulations relate to
surface mining. The need to refocus enforcement efforts became
clear late last year, when surface mine accidents caused five
deaths in 41 days.

Though 2011 was the second-lowest year on record for fatalities,
Main says surface mines accounted for two-thirds of the total.

He says operators need training to identify and correct hazards,
and miners need training to recognize them.

Starting April 1, MSHA will retrain inspectors to more carefully
and consistently evaluate violations that caused or contributed to
a fatality.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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