The increased cost of doing business

MINERS issued with civil penalties in 2013 will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets as the US Mine Safety and Health Administration adjusts its fines to account for inflation.

Donna Schmidt

Federal regulators announced recently that the adjustments, which go into effect on January 28, increase the maximum penalty for failure to provide timely notification of an accident involving a death, or one that has a reasonable potential to cause death, from $US60,000 to $65,000.

The maximum fine for a flagrant violation will be $242,000, up from $220,000. For a violation to be considered flagrant under federal guidelines, specific evaluation criteria must be met for reckless or repeated failure violations. These include citations or orders that are classified as significant and substantial, and injury or illness that is at least permanently disabling, or a citation of an order that is considered an unwarrantable failure.

Other criteria include negligence, which is evaluated as reckless disregard, or the existence of at least two other prior “unwarrantable failure” violations of the same safety or health standard within 15 months.

The last inflation adjustment was made in 2008 and is required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 to be updated every four years.

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