The training took place at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver, West Virginia and included course work conducted by the FBI on topics including the use of proper interview techniques to conduct thorough investigations, the use of injunctive relief in federal district courts, evaluating evidence, reviewing knowing and willful violations and processing discrimination complaints.
The FBI’s Evidence Response Unit is also instructing federal investigators on the appropriate control of accident sites, such as approaching the scene, photographing the area and both obtaining and securing evidence.
The MSHA individuals will also be educated on dealing with false or altered records as well as how to release a scene.
US Office of the Solicitor attorneys are presenting on the aspects of civil and criminal investigations, specifically those which address evidence needed for successful prosecutions.
Additionally, Department of Justice representatives are assisting MSHA presenters with lectures on subjects such as preparing cases for the US Attorney’s Office, the evaluation of cases for criminal referral, serving as an expert adviser and witness and understanding the responsibilities of a grand jury.
“MSHA’s special investigations division is an integral part of the agency’s overall enforcement program,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for mine safety and health Joseph Main said.
“This training will serve to strengthen the skills needed to conduct the most thorough, solid and accurate investigations.”
Special MSHA investigators, at a minimum, must be an authorized representatives of the secretary of labor with the authority to conduct inspections or have the authorization for right of entry to mining operations.
They must also have completed five weeks of formal classroom training.
Credentials for the representatives may be obtained through an on-the-job training program.
Classroom work includes the review of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and its regulations, policy and procedures and final decisions by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.