On April 13, following the explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the committee on education and labor, asked
On April 13, following the explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the committee on education and labor, asked the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General to review the Mine Safety and Health Administration's Pattern of Violation Program. An interim report was released this month.
Both Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main welcomed the inspector general's analysis; reiterated that the POV system, created by the previous administration, is fundamentally flawed and needs to be fixed; and pledged to revise administrative procedures that govern POVs for the 2010 determinations, as well as to continue to work on legislative and regulatory long-term reforms.
ìThe Office of Inspector General reaffirms what we already knew: The Pattern of Violation process is badly broken,î Solis says. ìIt's clear that we need to scrap the current system and put a new system in place that is focused on protecting miners' safety and health. The bottom line is that the system we use this year will be different than the system we used in the past, and we'll continue to work to get this system right.î
ìThe more one looks at the Pattern of Violation system we inherited, the more problems one finds,î Main says. ìThat's why, in April, we announced that we'd be rewriting the Pattern of Violation rules this year. We're also conducting a review of the internal policies that govern Pattern of Violations so we can begin to change the way we deal with persistently problematic mines this year. We welcome the inspector general's continued partnership in identifying problems we need to fix, and we remain committed to doing whatever it takes to fix this badly broken system.î