Why MSHA Enforcement Alerts?

In the late summer and early fall of 2009 MSHA moved forward with two new initiatives. One required mid-axle high guard rails on weigh scales. The other required guardrails around the engine compartments on certain mobile equipment.

Both of these caused a great deal of uncertainty and concern within the aggregate industry. Many industry safety professionals were uncertain how they could physically make the changes needed without creating additional safety hazards. And they were concerned how MSHA would actually enforce the new requirements.

The result was a flurry of telephone calls and e-mails between state aggregate association executives, between the associations and their members, and between members themselves. It seemed there just had to be a better way!

At that point a few of the Midwestern associations began discussing the possibility of organizing this information through one central website.

The original idea was to create a location where industry could share information. But the associations wanted the site to provide more than just new or unusual MSHA initiatives. It should also be a central place to exchange ideas to meet emerging standards and to get the latest in safety information. All agreed it would be better to invest in compliance now rather than on excessive MSHA citations later.

By mid-November both the idea and the need for funding had been brought before the respective association boards and approved. Shortly after an Internet host contract was signed, the needed domain name acquired, and site construction began.

As with many things “the devil has been in the details”. We wanted a site that was easy to use, provided valuable content and attracted as many visitors as possible. Because the last point was so important, the information on this site is not password protected. We encourage all mine safety professionals to take advantage of the material available.

We also see the information on this site as a legislative tool. We want members of Congress to be able to access the information provided by the industry. While submittals are anonymous, the material must be credible. For that reason, those who submit information from citations are asked to do so verbatim.

However, the creation and maintenance of this site does come at a cost, both in dollars and staff time. Because those expenses are being paid by members of the supporting state associations, full participation and the submitting of content is limited to members.

If you find the site of benefit, but are not currently a member of a participating state association, the best way to say thank you, is to join. Together, we can do great things!

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