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1910 Public Law 61-179.
Bureau of Mines created in the Department of the Interior. Federal safety and health role limited to research and investigation.

1941 Public Law 77-49.
Right of entry given to Federal inspectors to make annual or other inspections and investigations in coal mines to obtain information. No safety or health regulations mandated.

1947 Public Law 80-328.
First Federal safety standards adopted for bituminous coal and lignite mines. Provision for Federal inspectors to notify the mine operator and State mine agency of violations. No enforcement provisions. Expired after one year.

1952 Public Law 82-552.
Federal Coal Mine Safety Act. Emphasis on preventing major disasters. Annual inspections required at underground coal mines. Mandatory safety standards for underground coal mines, with more stringent standards for "gassy" mines.

Federal inspectors given authority to issue orders of withdrawal in situations of imminent danger as well as notices of violation. Also mandated orders of withdrawal where less serious violations were not properly corrected.

Enforcement of Federal standards by State inspectors allowed under State plan system. Anthracite mines covered, all surface coal mines exempted, along with all mines employing fewer than 15 people.

1961 Public Law 87-300.
Authorized study of causes and prevention of injuries and health hazards in metal and nonmetal (non-coal) mines. Federal officials given right of entry to collect information.

1966 Public Law 89-376.
Extended coverage of 1952 law to small underground coal mines. Provided for orders of withdrawal in cases of repeated unwarrantable failures to comply with standards. Education and training programs expanded.

1966 Public Law 89-577.
Federal Metal and Nonmetallic Mine Safety Act of 1966. Set up procedures for developing safety and health standards for metal and nonmetal mines. Standards could be advisory or mandatory. One annual inspection required for underground mines. Federal inspectors given authority to issue notices of violation and orders of withdrawal.

Enforcement of Federal standards by State inspectors allowed under State plan system. Education and training programs expanded.

1969 Public Law 91-173.
Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969. Enforcement powers in coal mines increased vastly. Surface mines covered. Four annual inspections required for each underground coal mine. Stricter standards for gassy mines abolished, but additional inspections required in these mines. Miners given right to request a Federal inspection. State enforcement plans discontinued.

Mandatory fines for all violations. Criminal penalties for knowing and willful violations.

Safety standards for all coal mines strengthened, and health standards adopted. Procedures incorporated for developing new health and safety standards. Training grant program instituted. Benefits provided to miners disabled by black lung disease.

Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration (MESA) created as a new Interior agency by administrative action. The new agency assumed safety and health enforcement functions formerly carried out by the Bureau of Mines.

1977 Public Law 95-164.
Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. Placed coal mines, metal and nonmetal mines under a single law, with enforcement provisions similar to 1969 Act. (Separate safety and health standards were retained.) Moved enforcement agency to Department of Labor, renamed it Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Requirement for four annual inspections at all underground mines, two at all surface mines. Advisory standards for metal and nonmetal mines eliminated. State enforcement plans in metal and nonmetal sector discontinued.

Provisions for mandatory miner training. Mine rescue teams required for all underground mines. Increased involvement of miners and their representatives in health and safety activities.
Strengthened standards setting provisions.

2006 Public Law 109-236.
Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (MINER Act). Amended Mine Act to require mine-specific emergency response plans in underground coal mines; new regulations regarding mine rescue teams and sealing of abandoned areas; prompt notification of mine accidents; and enhanced civil penalties.