An important and far-reaching decision was made on May 6, 2011 by Judge Gill in a Review Commission case referencing 2 citations written in the Southeast District. In essence, Judge Gillís decision states that operators should be allowed to conduct a pre-shift (Gillís words) inspection on a piece of mobile equipment before it is placed into service and subsequently examined by the MSHA inspector. Rather than summarize the decision here, please read the attached document.† It should be noted that Judge Gillís decision applies only to those pieces of equipment that have NOT been operated during the shift that the inspection is happening.† Secondly, though not addressed in this decision, if an inspector has reason to believe (based on facts, e.g. testimony of a miner, for instance) that a defect existed prior to the inspectorís examination, a citation may still be issued.
In the summary of the decision, the law firm representing the operator states, ďOperators are encouraged to take pro-active steps with inspectors who wish to inspect equipment that has not been operated. Specifically, operators should state to the inspector that before any inspection can be conducted, a pre-shift examination has to be conducted and the operator must be given the opportunity to correct any defects before an inspection takes place.Ē†
Signage, documentation and training to this effect are helpful on the compliance angle, but also important to protect the safety of our employees.† Training, Coaching and Enforcement of the pre-shift or pre-use inspection activities should be a part of the ongoing safety process at your sites.