The Secretary shall by rule in accordance with procedures set forth in this section and in accordance with section 553 of title 5 (without regard to any reference in such section to sections 556 and 557 of such title), develop, promulgate, and revise as may be appropriate, improved mandatory health or safety standards for the protection of life and prevention of injuries in coal or other mines.
(1) Whenever the Secretary, upon the basis of information submitted to him in writing by an interested person, a representative of any organization of employers or employees, a nationally recognized standards-producing organization, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or a State or political subdivision, or on the basis of information developed by the Secretary or otherwise available to him, determines that a rule should be promulgated in order to serve the objectives of this chapter, the Secretary may request the recommendation of an advisory committee appointed under section 812(c) of this title. The Secretary shall provide such an advisory committee with any proposals of his own or of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, together with all pertinent factual information developed by the Secretary or the Secretary of Health and Human Services, or otherwise available, including the results of research, demonstrations, and experiments. An advisory committee shall submit to the Secretary its recommendations regarding the rule to be promulgated within 60 days from the date of its appointment or within such longer or shorter period as may be prescribed by the Secretary, but in no event for a period which is longer than 180 days. When the Secretary receives a recommendation, accompanied by appropriate criteria, from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that a rule be promulgated, modified, or revoked, the Secretary must, within 60 days after receipt thereof, refer such recommendation to an advisory committee pursuant to this paragraph, or publish such as a proposed rule pursuant to paragraph (2), or publish in the Federal Register his determination not to do so, and his reasons therefor. The Secretary shall be required to request the recommendations of an advisory committee appointed under section 812(c) of this title if the rule to be promulgated is, in the discretion of the Secretary which shall be final, new in effect or application and has significant economic impact.
(2) The Secretary shall publish a proposed rule promulgating, modifying, or revoking a mandatory health or safety standard in the Federal Register. If the Secretary determines that a rule should be proposed and in connection therewith has appointed an advisory committee as provided by paragraph (1), the Secretary shall publish a proposed rule, or the reasons for his determination not to publish such rule, within 60 days following the submission of the advisory committee's recommendation or the expiration of the period of time prescribed by the Secretary in such submission. In either event, the Secretary shall afford interested persons a period of 30 days after any such publication to submit written data or comments on the proposed rule. Such comment period may be extended by the Secretary upon a finding of good cause, which the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register. Publication shall include the text of such rules proposed in their entirety, a comparative text of the proposed changes in existing rules, and shall include a comprehensive index to the rules, cross-referenced by subject matter.
(3) On or before the last day of the period provided for the submission of written data or comments under paragraph (2), any interested person may file with the Secretary written objections to the proposed mandatory health or safety standard, stating the grounds therefor and requesting a public hearing on such objections. Within 60 days after the last day for filing such objections, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register a notice specifying the mandatory health or safety standard to which objections have been filed and a hearing requested, and specifying a time and place for such hearing. Any hearing under this subsection for the purpose of hearing relevant information shall commence within 60 days after the date of publication of the notice of hearing. Hearings required by this subsection shall be conducted by the Secretary, who may prescribe rules and make rulings concerning procedures in such hearings to avoid unnecessary cost or delay. Subject to the need to avoid undue delay, the Secretary shall provide for procedures that will afford interested parties the right to participate in the hearing, including the right to present oral statements and to offer written comments and data. The Secretary may require by subpoena the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in connection with any proceeding initiated under this section. If a person refuses to obey a subpoena under this subsection, a United States district court within the jurisdiction of which a proceeding under this subsection is conducted may, upon petition by the Secretary, issue an order requiring compliance with such subpoena. A transcript shall be taken of any such hearing and shall be available to the public.
(4)(A) Within 90 days after certification of the record of the hearing held pursuant to paragraph (3), the Secretary shall by rule promulgate, modify, or revoke such mandatory health or safety standards, and publish his reasons therefor.
(B) In the case of a proposed mandatory health or safety standard to which objections requesting a public hearing have not been filed, the Secretary, within 90 days after the period for filing such objections has expired, shall by rule promulgate, modify, or revoke such mandatory standards, and publish his reasons therefor.
(C) In the event the Secretary determines that a proposed mandatory health or safety standard should not be promulgated he shall, within the times specified in subparagraphs (A) and (B) publish his reasons for his determination.
(5) Any mandatory health or safety standard promulgated as a final rule under this section shall be effective upon publication in the Federal Register unless the Secretary specifies a later date.
(6)(A) The Secretary, in promulgating mandatory standards dealing with toxic materials or harmful physical agents under this subsection, shall set standards which most adequately assure on the basis of the best available evidence that no miner will suffer material impairment of health or functional capacity even if such miner has regular exposure to the hazards dealt with by such standard for the period of his working life. Development of mandatory standards under this subsection shall be based upon research, demonstrations, experiments, and such other information as may be appropriate. In addition to the attainment of the highest degree of health and safety protection for the miner, other considerations shall be the latest available scientific data in the field, the feasibility of the standards, and experience gained under this and other health and safety laws. Whenever practicable, the mandatory health or safety standard promulgated shall be expressed in terms of objective criteria and of the performance desired.
(B) The Secretary of Health and Human Services, as soon as possible after November 9, 1977, but in no event later than 18 months after such date and on a continuing basis thereafter, shall, for each toxic material or harmful physical agent which is used or found in a mine, determine whether such material or agent is potentially toxic at the concentrations in which it is used or found in a mine. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit such determinations with respect to such toxic substances or harmful physical agents to the Secretary. Thereafter, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit to the Secretary all pertinent criteria regarding any such substances determined to be toxic or any such harmful agents as such criteria are developed. Within 60 days after receiving any criteria in accordance with the preceding sentence relating to a toxic material or harmful physical agent which is not adequately covered by a mandatory health or safety standard promulgated under this section, the Secretary shall either appoint an advisory committee to make recommendations with respect to a mandatory health or safety standard covering such material or agent in accordance with paragraph (1), or publish a proposed rule promulgating such a mandatory health or safety standard in accordance with paragraph (2), or shall publish his determination not to do so.
(7) Any mandatory health or safety standard promulgated under this subsection shall prescribe the use of labels or other appropriate forms of warning as are necessary to insure that miners are apprised of all hazards to which they are exposed, relevant symptoms and appropriate emergency treatment, and proper conditions and precautions of safe use or exposure. Where appropriate, such mandatory standard shall also prescribe suitable protective equipment and control or technological procedures to be used in connection with such hazards and shall provide for monitoring or measuring miner exposure at such locations and intervals, and in such manner so as to assure the maximum protection of miners. In addition, where appropriate, any such mandatory standard shall prescribe the type and frequency of medical examinations or other tests which shall be made available, by the operator at his cost, to miners exposed to such hazards in order to most effectively determine whether the health of such miners is adversely affected by such exposure. Where appropriate, the mandatory standard shall provide that where a determination is made that a miner may suffer material impairment of health or functional capacity by reason of exposure to the hazard covered by such mandatory standard, that miner shall be removed from such exposure and reassigned. Any miner transferred as a result of such exposure shall continue to receive compensation for such work at no less than the regular rate of pay for miners in the classification such miner held immediately prior to his transfer. In the event of the transfer of a miner pursuant to the preceding sentence, increases in wages of the transferred miner shall be based upon the new work classification. In the event such medical examinations are in the nature of research, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, such examinations may be furnished at the expense of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The results of examinations or tests made pursuant to the preceding sentence shall be furnished only to the Secretary or the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and, at the request of the miner, to his designated physician.
(8) The Secretary shall, to the extent practicable, promulgate separate mandatory health or safety standards applicable to mine construction activity on the surface.
(9) No mandatory health or safety standard promulgated under this subchapter shall reduce the protection afforded miners by an existing mandatory health or safety standard.
(1) The Secretary shall provide, without regard to the requirements of chapter 5 of title 5 for an emergency temporary mandatory health or safety standard to take immediate effect upon publication in the Federal Register if he determines (A) that miners are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful, or to other hazards, and (B) that such emergency standard is necessary to protect miners from such danger.
(2) A temporary mandatory health or safety standard shall be effective until superseded by a mandatory standard promulgated in accordance with the procedures prescribed in paragraph (3) of this subsection.
(3) Upon publication of such standard in the Federal Register, the Secretary shall commence a proceeding in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, and the standards as published shall also serve as a proposed rule for the proceeding. The Secretary shall promulgate a mandatory health or safety standard under this paragraph no later than nine months after publication of the emergency temporary standard as provided in paragraph (2).
Upon petition by the operator or the representative of miners, the Secretary may modify the application of any mandatory safety standard to a coal or other mine if the Secretary determines that an alternative method of achieving the result of such standard exists which will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners of such mine by such standard, or that the application of such standard to such mine will result in a diminution of safety to the miners in such mine. Upon receipt of such petition the Secretary shall publish notice thereof and give notice to the operator or the representative of miners in the affected mine, as appropriate, and shall cause such investigation to be made as he deems appropriate. Such investigation shall provide an opportunity for a public hearing at the request of such operator or representative or other interested party, to enable the operator or the representative of miners in such mine or other interested party to present information relating to the modification of such standard. Before granting any exception to a mandatory safety standard, the findings of the Secretary or his authorized representative shall be made public and shall be available to the representative of the miners at the affected mine. The Secretary shall issue a decision incorporating his findings of fact therein, and send a copy thereof to the operator or the representative of the miners, as appropriate. Any such hearing shall be of record and shall be subject to section 554 of title 5.
Any person who may be adversely affected by a mandatory health or safety standard promulgated under this section may, at any time prior to the sixtieth day after such standard is promulgated, file a petition challenging the validity of such mandatory standard with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit or the circuit wherein such person resides or has his principal place of business, for a judicial review of such standard. A copy of the petition shall be forthwith transmitted by the clerk of the court to the Secretary. The filing of such petition shall not, unless otherwise ordered by the court, operate as a stay of the standard. No objection that has not been urged before the Secretary shall be considered by the court, unless the failure or neglect to urge such objection shall be excused for good cause shown. The validity of any mandatory health or safety standard shall not be subject to challenge on the grounds that any of the time limitations in this section have been exceeded. The procedures of this subsection shall be the exclusive means of challenging the validity of a mandatory health or safety standard.
The Secretary shall send a copy of every proposed mandatory health or safety standard or regulation at the time of publication in the Federal Register to the operator of each coal or other mine and the representative of the miners at such mine and such copy shall be immediately posted on the bulletin board of the mine by the operator or his agent, but failure to receive such notice shall not relieve anyone of the obligation to comply with such standard or regulation.
(Pub. L. 91–173, title I, §101, Dec. 30, 1969, 83 Stat. 745; Pub. L. 95–164, title II, §201, Nov. 9, 1977, 91 Stat. 1291; Pub. L. 96–88, title V, §509(b), Oct. 17, 1979, 93 Stat. 695.)
This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 91–173, Dec. 30, 1969, 83 Stat. 742, known as the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 801 of this title and Tables.
1977—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 95–164 substituted provisions revising and setting out in detail the procedures to be followed by the Secretary of Labor in developing, promulgating, and revising mandatory health and safety standards covering coal and other mines for provisions which had charged the Secretary of the Interior with the responsibility of developing standards for the protection of life and the prevention of injuries in coal mines.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 95–164 substituted provisions relating to emergency temporary mandatory standards for provisions requiring that improved standards not reduce the previously existing level of health and safety in coal mines.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 95–164 substituted provisions relating to the modification of standards for provisions covering the consultative and research steps in the promulgation of safety standards.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 95–164 substituted provisions relating to judicial review of standards for provisions covering the consultative and research steps in the promulgation of health standards.
Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 95–164 redesignated subsec. (k) as (e) and substituted “proposed mandatory health or safety standard or regulation” for “proposed standard or regulation” and “coal or other mine” for “coal mine”.
Subsecs. (f) to (j). Pub. L. 95–164 struck out subsecs. (f) to (j) which had related to the submission of objections to proposed standards, hearings, the effective date of standards, mandatory standards for surface coal mines, and the publication of pre-existing consistent regulations in the Federal Register and the continuing effectiveness of those regulations until modified or superseded, and incorporated those provisions, as altered to apply to coal and other mines and as otherwise revised, into subsec. (a).
Subsec. (k). Pub. L. 95–164 redesignated subsec. (k) as (e).
“Secretary of Health and Human Services” substituted for “Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare” in subsec. (a)(1), (6)(B), and (7) pursuant to section 509(b) of Pub. L. 96–88 which is classified to section 3508(b) of Title 20, Education.
Amendment by Pub. L. 95–164 effective 120 days after Nov. 9, 1977, except as otherwise provided, see section 307 of Pub. L. 95–164, set out as a note under section 801 of this title.
Subchapter operative 90 days after Dec. 30, 1969, except to the extent an earlier date is specifically provided for in Pub. L. 91–173, see section 509 of Pub. L. 91–173, set out as a note under section 801 of this title.
Pub. L. 109–236, §10, June 15, 2006, 120 Stat. 501, provided that:“Not later than 18 months after the issuance by the Mine Safety and Health Administration of a final report on the Sago Mine accident or the date of enactment of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 [June 15, 2006], whichever occurs earlier, the Secretary of Labor shall finalize mandatory heath and safety standards relating to the sealing of abandoned areas in underground coal mines. Such health and safety standards shall provide for an increase in the 20 psi standard currently set forth in section 75.335(a)(2) of title 30, Code of Federal Regulations.”