MSHA Launches Pilot Program for Conferencing Citations

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has launched a pilot program for Part 100 conferencing in the hopes of reducing the number of contested citations.  Under the pilot program, which will run from April 1 – June 30, 2019, MSHA will hold conferences with operators with the understanding that the goal of the conference is to reach a negotiated settlement before the contest process begins.  During the conference, the operator and MSHA would negotiate both paper changes and penalty amounts for all citations conferenced.  If a resolution is reached, both parties would sign an agreement indicating the terms of the settlement and that the operator agrees not to contest the citations or assessments before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (“FMSHRC”).  If a settlement is not reached, the operator would retain its contest rights before the FMSHRC.  The pilot program applies only to 104(a) citations that are not subject to a special assessment.

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