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DOL News Release
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Rodney Brown
Phone: (202) 693-9425

Released Wednesday, October 16, 2002

News Release

Proposed MSHA Rule Would Allow Alternate Testing of Mining Equipment

ARLINGTON, Va. -The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a proposed rule that would allow manufacturers who seek MSHA approval of their products for use in underground mines to use independent laboratories to conduct the testing and evaluation of products for approval. MSHA is currently responsible, in most cases, for evaluation and testing of products to ensure safe operation in the underground mine environment.

"This rule would increase the availability of a wider range of mining equipment with enhanced, modern safety features to the mining industry," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "It would also reduce costs and broaden the market for more varying types of mining equipment."

The proposal would also allow the agency to approve products based on non-MSHA product safety standards when the agency has determined those standards provide the same degree of protection as agency approval requirements, or can be modified to do so. Under the new rule, at the manufacturer's option, MSHA would accept testing and evaluation of various types of mining equipment performed by an independent laboratory for purposes of MSHA approval only after certain requirements are met.

MSHA would retain its testing and evaluation program under the proposed rule and equipment manufacturers could still choose to have MSHA test and evaluate their products. The agency would continue to evaluate approval requests for all products regardless of the approval standard used for testing and evaluation. A product approval by an independent laboratory, either domestic or foreign, based on non-MSHA product safety standards would not automatically result in MSHA approval.

Costs to equipment manufacturers would be reduced by elimination of repeat testing and evaluation already performed by other testing labs and the need for multiple product lines for manufacturers who sell their products in other countries. It is estimated that the annual net cost savings for applicants would be $1.5 million.

See Proposed Rule