EFFECTIVE DATE: 11/10/2010 EXPIRATION DATE: 03/31/2012


PROGRAM POLICY LETTER NO. P10-IV-03

FROM: NEAL H. MERRIFIELD
Administrator for
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health

SUBJECT: Examination of working places (30 CFR §§ 56/57.18002)

Scope
This Program Policy Letter (PPL) applies to surface and underground metal and nonmetal mine operators, contractors, equipment manufacturers, miners, miners' representatives, and Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health enforcement personnel.

Purpose
The purpose of this PPL is to clarify that the examination of working places required under 30 CFR §§ 56/57.18002 includes the requirement that the operator shall examine each working place at least once each shift for conditions which adversely affect safety or health and a record of the examination be maintained which shall be made available for review by the Secretary or his authorized representative.

Policy
56/57.18002 Examination of Working Place
30 CFR §§ 56/57.18002, Examination of working places, provide:
a. A competent person designated by the operator shall examine each working place at least once each shift for conditions which may adversely affect safety or health. The operator shall promptly initiate appropriate action to correct such conditions.
b. A record that such examinations were conducted shall be kept by the operator for a period of one year, and shall be made available for review by the Secretary or his authorized representative.
c. In addition, conditions that may present an imminent danger which are noted by the person conducting the examination shall be brought to the immediate attention of the operator who shall withdraw all persons from the area affected (except persons referred to in section 104(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977) until the danger is abated.

The terms "competent person" and "working place," used in §§ 56/57.18002(a), are defined in §§ 56/57.2, Definitions.

A "competent person," according to §§ 56/57.2, is "a person having abilities and experience that fully qualify him to perform the duty to which he is assigned."

The phrase "working place" is defined in 30 CFR §§ 56/57.2 as: "any place in or about a mine where work is being performed." As used in the standard, the phrase applies to those locations at a mine site where persons work in the mining or milling processes.

Standards 56/57.18002(b) require operators to keep records of working place examinations. These records should include: (1) the date the examination was made; (2) the examiner's name; (3) the working places examined; and (4) a description of the condition(s) found which may adversely affect safety or health. Records of examinations may be entered on computer data bases or documents already in use, such as production sheets, logs, charts, time cards, or other format that is more convenient for mine operators.

In order to comply with the record retention portion of §§ 56/57.18002(b), operators must retain workplace examination records for the preceding 12 months.

Evidence that a previous shift examination was not conducted or that prompt corrective action was not taken constitutes a violation of §§ 56/57.18002(a). This evidence may include information which demonstrates that safety or health hazards existed prior to the working shift in which they were found.

Background
This policy letter clarifies the Agency's application of 30 CFR §§ 56/57.18002, Examination of working places. Operators have raised questions regarding what type of records would be appropriate under 56/57.18002.

Authority
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, as amended, 30 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.; 30 C.F.R. § 56./57.18002.

Internet Availability
This program policy letter may be viewed on the World Wide Web by accessing the MSHA home page (http://www.msha.gov) and by choosing "Compliance Info" and "Program Policy Letters."

Issuing Office and Contact Person
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
Safety and Health Division
Marvin Lichtenfels, CSP, ARM (202) 693-9606
E-mail: lichtenfels.marvin@dol.gov

Distribution
MSHA Program Policy Holders
Underground and Surface Mine Operators
Underground and Surface Independent Contractors
Special Interest Groups
Miners' Representatives