The South Dakota Strategy  

 

When The Mining Industry Complies With The LAW, MSHA Must Too!

These are the AGCSD Production firm Managers and Supervisors who made it their business to receive fair and equitable treatment under THE ACT.

 

 

It all started when the South Dakota Industry attended an AGCSD sponsored Feb. 21-25 $afepro, inc. MS&H Law Seminar held in Rapid City, SD. During this class they learned the origins, legal requirements, and enforcement policies relative to the 1977 Mine Safety Act.

As the class progressed through the week they became aware that though they were complying with the legal requirements and nationally-published enforcement policy, their inspectors were not! The firms returned to their sites and proceeded to make certain that their workplaces were safe and in compliance with the ACT. They continued to be threatened with and receive citations which did not meet the requirements of the LAW and enforcement policy. 

 

 

When their "houses were clean", then came the "0 Citation Inspections"


 

  A Noteworthy American Success Story

  Myrl and Roy's Paving, Inc.'s Sioux Falls, SD Wash Plant "One Man Show", Marty Kockx with his company's Safety Appreciation Award for his "0 Citation" MSHA inspection. Marty was also taken to lunch by his firm.

     There is a lot of media attention given to our large Road Material firms. Sometimes it is  forgotten that the backbone of our Industry is the smaller producer with fewer employees who mostly serve their local markets. These smaller companies have the same problems with compliance, injuries, predictable production, etc. as the giant firms do. Yet they do not have the extensive Safety Departments which the bigger companies enjoy. The heartening point is that they succeed with the commitment and support of their total workforces. Myrl and Roy's Paving, Inc. in Sioux Falls, SD is a shining example of one of those successful smaller firms. To quote Melisa Lukins, their HR/Safety Officer, " We do it from beginning to end". At the peak of their season there are approximately 170 employees in the aggregates, batch, and paving operations. One of those committed employees is Marty Kockx, who is in charge of their Sioux Falls Wash Plant. Though he has occasional helpers, according to the company he is a "one man show".

     On April 14 Marty's Wash Plant had a "0 Citation" MSHA Inspection! 

     Ms. Lukins, HR/Safety Officer, attended the $afepro Law Seminar sponsored by the South Dakota AGC in February and began training in the process of Law-based $afe Production. Marty and his Wash Plant's compliance are proof of Myrl and Roy's Paving's quick "return on investment". This Miner's commitment to excellence is a shining example for our Industry's employees to emulate. Doing the safety and production portions of the job equally well means higher profits for the company and better standard of living for every family within the organization.

     The Industry and $afepro congratulate Mr. Kockx and Myrl and Roy's Paving for this professional accomplishment.

 

 

The next step was Formal Contestment of the questionable citations. It became obvious that the problem was uneven enforcement on the part of the Regional and District MSHA offices. This was obvious as "bad" citations were overturned or withdrawn under the right granted them in Sec. 105 of The ACT.  

Click for formal contestment procedure


Spencer Quarries, Inc, Spencer, SD scores a "0 Citation" Inspection!

(E-mail received 7/14/2005 from Dick Waldera, Supt.)

Dick Waldera, Superintendent

"Frank,

What a coincidence I had a MSHA inspection Tuesday followed by a health yesterday. No citations! The coincidental part of it is we had a AGC alliance meeting yesterday afternoon. Guess who wanted to be involved with our meeting? The MSHA Regional Manager. Anne of AGC told him we were not interested in his input. In the 11 years I have been here I do not remember a July inspection.

I had the same inspector as last October when I received 2 dangerous high wall citations which I contested. This inspection nothing was mentioned about dangerous high walls. I have not changed our mining process regarding high walls in this time frame.

Our AGC meeting went really well. We had representation from all three of our congressional representatives in attendance. I really feel our region will be seeing some changes. We had, I believe, 25+ mining facilities represented. In S.D. that is a good % of our industry. Almost everyone in attendance gave a negative MSHA report and most of it was directed towards the Regional Manager.

Talk with you later and have a great day.

Dick"

     $afepro and The Mining Industry congratulate Dick and his Supervisors and the professional Spencer Quarrymen for maintaining a safe workplace and  their resulting "0 Citation" inspection.

 

 

Next, they exercised their Constitutional Rights as Business People.

Their Inspectors, however, continued their bullying tactics. Finally, after receiving no relief from the Agency, they met with their Congressional representatives and staffs on July 11, 2005. 25+ SD Mining firms attended.

 


An Act

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That this Act may be cited as the "Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977".

FINDINGS AND PURPOSE

SEC. 2. Congress declares that--

(a) the first priority and concern of all in the coal or other mining industry must be the health and safety of its most precious resource--the miner;

d) the existence of unsafe and unhealthful conditions and practices in the Nation's coal or other mines is a serious impediment to the future growth of the coal or other mining industry and cannot be tolerated;
(e) the operators of such mines with the assistance of the miners have the primary responsibility to prevent the existence of such conditions and practices in such mines.

(f) the disruption of production and the loss of income to operators and miners as a result of coal or other mine accidents or occupationally caused diseases unduly impedes and burdens commerce.
 

 


 

Excellent management and commitment to good business practices, under Law, brought quick results.

 

The week of July 18, 2005 the Regional Supervisory Inspector, Rapid City office was reassigned and the District Manager will retire.

The Mine Safety and Health of 1977 applies equally to both the Production and Enforcement elements of this economically vital American Industry. If a Producer is not receiving equitable enforcement then the Agency is out of compliance. Courting Inspectors does not result in either favors or special treatment. They are not the Industry's "Safety Consultants"! They are enforcement officers whose product is Citations and the costs of abating their personal agendas as reflected in citations which have no legal basis.

MSHA inspectors and their managers have no authority to fabricate Law. Constitutionally, only the Congress of the United States may formulate Law and Regulations.

The South Dakota Mining Industry is to be commended for insisting on their right to continue its economically vital endeavor protected by their  constitutional guarantees .