Federal Mine Regulators Issue Guidance on Refuges

Underground Mining

On July 26, 2019, the Federal Mine, Safety, and Health Administration (“FMSHA”) issued a new policy letter on emergency refuges for workers in underground mines.  The letter, which applies only to metal and nonmetal mines where minerals are excavated, requires the installation of refuges – which are safe areas in mines where workers can retreat in the event of an emergency such a as collapsed roof.  The letter specifically exempts coal mines from the requirements.

Industry representatives have expressed concern that the guidance is actually rulemaking in that it imposes new requirements without going through the procedural due process requirements for the issuance of new rules.  The FMSHA anticipates that the guidance will raise novel legal and policy issues, and is, therefore, accepting public comments about the letter through September 27.

For more information, please contact Steve O’Day or Phillip Hoover.

On July 26, 2019, the Federal Mine, Safety, and Health Administration (“FMSHA”) issued a new policy letter on emergency refuges for workers in underground mines.  The letter, which applies only to metal and nonmetal mines where minerals are excavated, requires the installation of refuges – which are safe areas in mines where workers can retreat in the event of an emergency such a as collapsed roof.  The letter specifically exempts coal mines from the requirements.

Industry representatives have expressed concern that the guidance is actually rulemaking in that it imposes new requirements without going through the procedural due process requirements for the issuance of new rules.  The FMSHA anticipates that the guidance will raise novel legal and policy issues, and is, therefore, accepting public comments about the letter through September 27.

For more information, please contact Steve O’Day or Phillip Hoover.