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ASSE Awards Adele Abrams of Beltsville, MD Best Technical Publication for Article on Mining Regulations

Posted in , on Fri, Jul 13, 2012

Des Plaines, IL (July 6th, 2012) – American Society of Safety Engineers member
Adele Abrams, Esq., CMSP, of Beltsville, MD has been named the recipient of the
Council on Practices & Standards’ Best Technical Article award for her piece
entitled “Pattern of Violations Proposed Rule,” which focuses on the Mine
Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) revisions proposed in 2011 to pattern
of violations (POV) criteria. Abrams received her award on June 5th,
during ASSE’s annual Professional Development Conference (PDC) and Exposition –
Safety 2012 in Denver, CO.

Although the Mine Act and POV criteria was established
over three decades ago, it has been overwhelmingly opposed by the mining
industry, and MSHA has withdrawn attempts to enforce POV provisions as
sanctions to require remedial action from mine operators who had a history of
persistent and serious violations that were decreased but kept occurring. MSHA
began to more vigorously enforce POV criteria after the 2006 Sago Mine Disaster
which killed 12 West Virginia miners.

Abrams points out that in 2007, MSHA issued its first
POV policy establishing how it would screen miners for a Potential Pattern of
Violations (PPOV) finding, what mines would need to do to avoid being formally
placed on a POV, and what had to be done to be removed. These policies have
been adjusted many times, most recently in 2010.

Proposed changes to POV criteria would give MSHA
authority to more quickly enforce regulations on mine operators who have been
determined to be “chronic violators of mandatory standards adopted in Section
104(e) of the 1977 Mine Act”.

According to Abrams, the 2011 POV policy currently
under review  “would eliminate a process
that has enabled mine operators to exercise their due process rights, and the
assumption that they are” innocent until proven guilty” before they are issued
a citation that MSHA had not yet proven to be a violation against them for POV.

“The most notable policy shift incorporated into the
rulemaking would grant MSHA the ability to place a mine on POV simply on the
basis of issued but not adjudicated significant and substantial (S&S)
violation citations that would trigger a POV finding (unlike current policy,
which stipulates a fairly large number of violations that would be a minimum
for POV considerations), Abrams notes.

Abrams is president and attorney at the Law Office of
Adele L. Abrams P.C. A member of ASSE’s National Capital Chapter, she serves as
the Assistant Administrator and Publications Coordinator of the Society’s
Mining Practice Specialty. Abrams is a nationally-recognized author and speaker
on occupational and mine safety and health issues, and also provides OSHA/MSHA
safety training and consultations services.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the
oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people,
property and the environment. Its more than 34,000 occupational safety, health
and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and
consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all
industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information
please go to www.asse.org.

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