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For Five Years No U.S. Mines Have Met POV Criteria

For the fifth consecutive year, none of the nation’s more than 13,000 mining operations met the criteria for a Pattern of Violations (POV), the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced. The screening period started on Sept. 1, 2018, and ended on Aug. 31, 2019.

The POV provision in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 is one of MSHA’s toughest enforcement tools. MSHA reserves the provision for mines that pose the greatest risk to miners’ health and safety, particularly those with chronic violation records.

“The Mine Safety and Health Administration remains committed to regular and consistent enforcement of the Mine Act – including issuing Pattern of Violations notices where appropriate – to fulfill its mission to keep the nation’s miners healthy and safe,” said MSHA Assistant Secretary David G. Zatezalo. “For the fifth straight year, no mine met POV criteria, evidence that mine operators have become more proactive in eliminating safety and health hazards.”

In January 2013, MSHA published its POV rule to strengthen safety measures in the nation’s most hazardous mines. Under the regulation, MSHA may consider mitigating circumstances before issuing a POV notice and encourages mine operators to implement a corrective action program if they are approaching POV status.

MSHA developed two online tools to help mine operators monitor compliance: the POV tool, which alerts mine operators that they are approaching POV status and should take appropriate corrective actions; and the S&S rate calculator, which enables mine operators to monitor their “significant and substantial” violations. Between 2011 and 2018, the rate of significant and substantial violations dropped from approximately 32% to 21%, an indicator of safety improvements in mines.