Protecting Miners: MSHA Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19View Guidance
MSHA will work with mine operators when it comes to the following recertifications:
Exemptions to recertifications will not be granted; however, their due dates will be extended by at least the time the government is operating under the President's emergency declaration.
Please note: This exception does not apply to new miner training. New miners must be trained before beginning work. Once the Emergency Declaration is lifted, mine operators should work with their respective district offices to ensure that all certifications are conducted in a timely manner.
The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) has learned from MSHA that although the agency will not issue a written policy publicly, they will rely on internal guidance regarding enforcement of annual training and other requirements in light of the Coronavirus.
MSHA will assess Annual Refresher Training on a case-by-case basis and grant a 30-day grace period where miners may be over the 12-month training requirement. This will be reevaluated as the situation continues to develop and may be extended, particularly if the nation remains in a state of emergency. Similar guidance will be implemented regarding audiometric testing and other training requirements. Operators are urged to utilize virtual training options, have a plan to make up training sessions, and keep in touch with NSSGA and/or their the appropriate MSHA office with any questions and concerns.
With respect to inspections, MSHA plans to continue their regular inspections: 2 per year for surface mines and 4 per year for underground. Inspections, and inspector travel, are deemed essential, which is why inspections will continue.
However, the situation we are in is highly fluid and MSHA practices and guidance may change. NSSGA will continue to keep you updated and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
MSHA Northeast has indicated that there is a 30-day extension on training. However, as of the morning of March 17th, they are still performing inspections. Indications are that operations are very fluid and changes may occur. Again, if you have a challenge, don’t hesitate to contact Josie Gaskey.
OSHA has revised two guidance documents pertaining to the COVID-19 crisis. On May 26, 2020, the previous memorandum on these topics will be rescinded, and these updated guidance documents will go into, and remain in effect, until further notice. These guidance documents are intended to be time-limited to the current COVID-19 public health crisis.
Note that “recording a COVID-19 illness does not, of itself, mean that the employer has violated any OSHA standard. And pursuant to existing regulations, employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries have no recording obligations; they need only report work-related COVID-19 illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee's in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.”
On April 10, 2020, OSHA issued enforcement guidance relating to how employers record COVID-19 cases. Previously OSHA took the position that COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. In the new guidance, OSHA is exercising its enforcement discretion and will not enforce the 29 CFR § 1904 recordkeeping requirements for employers, unless that employer is in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (medical, firefighting or law enforcement) or correctional facilities.
Until further notice, OSHA will not enforce to require other employers to make the same work-relatedness determinations, except where:
On Friday, April 3, 2020, OSHA issued revised guidance on respirators to exercise enforcement discretion in allowing the extended use and reuse of respirators, as well as the use of respirators that are beyond their manufacturer’s recommended shelf life. This guidance applies in all industries.Review Guidance
There has been some confusion between something that is recordable versus reportable for OSHA purposes relating to COVID-19. Below are some questions and answers that hopefully address employer concerns about recordkeeping and reporting to OSHA COVID-19 employee illnesses.Read More
This section highlights OSHA standards and directives (instructions for compliance officers) and other related information that may apply to worker exposure to novel coronavirus, COVID-19.Read More
OSHA has provided a Guidance on Preparing the Workplace for COVID-19.Read More
OSHA - Preventing Worker Exposure to Coronavirus