MSHA Inspections

Date: January 12, 2021

Doug Sams, Risk Control Consultant

4 Tips To Help Prepare For Your Next Inspection 

Vince Lombardi, the storied head coach of the Green Bay Packers, once said, “The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win.” The same can be said about a successful MSHA Inspection. The things we prepare and do ahead of an MSHA inspection will likely have a much greater impact on the inspection results than anything we do once the inspector arrives on site. Try these four tips to help your chances of a zero citation MSHA inspection.

1. Prepare and Update Your Paperwork

  • Part 41 Legal Identity
  • Part 56 Safety Standards
  • Quarterly Reporting
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Part 46 or 48 Training Plan
  • Part 46 or 48 Records of Training
  • Part 47 HAZCOM
  • Part 50 Accident Reporting
  • Part 62 Occupational Noise
  • Citation and Order Review
  • Miner Rights
  • First Aid
  • Part 45 Independent Contractor
  • State Grants Contacts
  • Education Field Services Contacts
  • 7000-1 and 7000-2 Quarterly Reports

2. Conduct and Document Workplace Exams and Inspections

  • Safety and Health Audit
  • Fire Fighting Equipment Inspection (Annual and Monthly Inspections on Your Fire Extinguishers)
  • Continuity and Resistance Test
  • Mobile Equipment Exams - Checklists
  • Workplace Examinations - Checklists
  • Guarding
  • Occupational Dust Control
  • Risk Assessment
  • Holmes Safety
  • Site-Specific Hazard
  • Check Local Requirements for Annual Inspection and Certificate for Air Receivers (Tanks on Plant Air)

3. Preventive Maintenance, Checks and Services

  • Pre-Shift Mobile Equipment Inspections
  • Equipment Maintenance and Repair
  • Point Of Operation and Transmission Guarding
  • Guard Construction
  • Parking Brakes
  • Wheel Chocks
  • Horns and Backup Alarms
  • Safety Defects
  • Electrical Conductor and Ground Tests
  • Wire and Cable Insulation and Fittings
  • Berms or Guardrails
  • Housekeeping

4. During the Inspection 

Once it is time for the inspection, always be polite and keep a professional demeanor with the inspector. Remember, the inspector is there in an enforcement capacity. Only talk to inspectors about what they want to discuss.

When answering questions, always use the shortest and most correct information that answers their question. If "Yes" or "No" answers the question, that is sufficient. If you do not know the answer to an inspector's question, your answer should be, "I don't know". Answering questions you think you know the answers to may get you in more trouble.

Beware of the question, "How long has this been like this?" If a supervisor was aware of an existing condition and did nothing to correct it for several days, it subjects the employer to fines up to $220,000 and the manager may be subject to personal fines.

As a reminder, never lie to an MSHA inspector. It is a crime, and the penalty is up to 5 years in prison.

To learn more about preparing for MSHA inspections or ways to stay safe on the job, consult with your BITCO Risk Control Consultant, or find a BITCO agent near you.

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Thank you to Mike Mudd, Safety Manager, at RiverStone Group and Chair of the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP) for his contributions to this article.

For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

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