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NSSGA Commends MSHA on Small Mines Office Decision

Joy Wilson, president and CEO of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, commended a decision by the U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration to reverse its earlier effort to dismantle its Small Mines Office.

Wilson said, “We are very pleased that a bipartisan mix of congressional leaders who deal with MSHA policy and budget appropriations recognize the critical importance of the agency’s robust compliance assistance to small aggregates facilities so that operators can optimally manage the safety and health of their employees. Further, given the Mine Act’s requirement that the government should provide effective compliance assistance, we see this move as imperative.”

Wilson continued, “For a year-and-a-half, the association, its CEOs (in executive meetings with MSHA Administrator Joe Main), its members and advocates have broadcast the merits of SMO’s programs. Congratulations to MSHA for this sound decision.”

Main emphatically stated his support for the Small Mines Office in an exclusive interview with Rock Products in November 2011, part two of which was published in the January issue.

Wilson indicated MSHA’s surprise decision is sure to please operators of small stone, sand and gravel mines and noted it allows for SMO to retain its traditional form and independence from MSHA’s inspectorate. Further, the office has been directed to hire additional compliance officers to assist small mine operators in complying with standards and managing for safety and health. Several years ago, MSHA published an analysis documenting that reductions in fatality rates occur more frequently at SMO-assisted operations than in the industry overall.