Keaton Turner and other producers disucss ‘One MSHA’ initiative, mine inspections with Pit & Quarry
P&Q: The industry is entering its third full year under Mine Safety & Health Administration Assistant Secretary (MSHA) David Zatezalo, who continues to drive the reorganization of the agency under his “One MSHA” initiative. The reorganization has impacted a number of regions, including states like North Carolina, which is reportedly now under the jurisdiction of three MSHA districts: 5, 7 and the Southeast. From a producer perspective, how has your experience with MSHA varied, if at all, as the agency’s “One MSHA” initiative has continued? Have you seen an influx of longtime coal inspectors to your region, and has the nature of what you expect in a typical inspection changed under the ‘One MSHA’ initiative?
KEATON TURNER (TURNER MINING GROUP):
For us, being a contractor, we’re typically sitting ducks [and] easy targets for MSHA inspectors. We have Part 46 and Part 48 employees because we service clients on both sides, and so I think one of the real challenges we have [is] we’ll get a Part 48 inspector come onto a Part 46 site where we’re operating as Part 46, but we have some Part 48 employees there, and they treat it totally different.
Whether that’s right or wrong, in 2019 I think we had 10 citations total on a half-million manhours worked. Eight of those were probably paperwork citations.
It’s different for each region. You get an inspector looking at the rules one way versus California, I think it’s a whole different country. The inspectors there treat us a whole lot different than the inspectors on the East Coast or from South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia. So it’s a challenge for us on the paperwork side, even though we’re doing it by the book.
You’ll have an inspector on one side of the country tell you one thing, and the exact same issue is totally different the next week with somebody else, so that’s been our experience.
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