From the Assistant Secretary's Desk — Corrective Action Plan: Upper Big Branch Mine-South Internal Review
In June, 2012 we began posting information on our website concerning the corrective actions MSHA has taken in response to the recommendations of the internal review of MSHA's actions following the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine disaster. Today, we are posting the corrective actions MSHA has taken since the last posting. This covers the last quarter of 2012. These include corrective actions to revise the Coal and Metal Nonmetal general inspection procedures handbooks. We are also posting the actions that MSHA has undertaken to address "An Independent Panel Assessment of an Internal Review of MSHA Enforcement Actions at the Upper Big Branch Mine South (Report)." The Independent Panel was formed by the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at the request of then Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, to review the policy, process and substance of MSHA's internal review. The Panel's Report was published on March 22, 2012.
By providing this information, we intend to keep the mining community, interested parties and the public informed of the actions we are taking and the timeline for completing them. MSHA will continue to post information on its corrective actions on a quarterly basis. As I have said on a number of occasions, the tragedy at UBB, which resulted in the deaths of 29 miners and injuries to 2 others, unquestionably shook the very foundation of mine safety and caused us all to take a deeper look at the weaknesses in the safety net expected to protect the nation's miners. It caused us to re-double our efforts to instill a culture of prevention in mining. There has been an intense examination of that accident, and MSHA has undergone significant change as we have sought to find and fix deficiencies in mine safety and health. Our corrective actions and other initiatives are part of MSHA's ongoing efforts to implement and enforce the nation's mine safety laws and to improve health and safety conditions in the nation's mines so miners in this country can go to work, do their jobs, and return home to their families safe and healthy at the end of every shift.