Experienced MSHA Attorneys Providing Counsel to Mine Operators and Service Contractors

WSM’s experienced MSHA attorneys provide strategic counsel to mine operators and mine service contractors in every region and district across the United States.

Our team, led by a former Department of Labor Solicitor, counsels and represents clients on enforcement matters arising from the regulatory agency and proceedings filed under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (FMSHRC). Dealing with MSHA daily in the bureaucratic trenches for years gives us a unique perspective on how the agency conducts its enforcement regimen. This perspective translates into efficient service and cost effective, realistic legal solutions.

What WMS Offers:

Enforcement Related Representation:

MSHA Conferencing – After an MSHA inspection, if you feel like you received improper or overwritten citations or orders, you can request a meeting with your region’s District Manager. This meeting is usually conducted via a Conference Litigation Representatives (CLR).  WSM    reviews the citations/orders and will provide assistance or   representation for this initial pre-litigation and pre-assessment conference. An effective presentation at this early stage may prevent the need for further contest.

Jurisdiction Review and Disputes – In some instances MSHA issues citations/orders to operators when another agency (e.g. OSHA) has jurisdiction.

Fatality/Accident Investigations – WSM provides comprehensive representation (onsite through litigation) during MSHA’s investigation of mine accidents and fatalities.

104(a) Citations – These citations are the bread and butter of MSHA enforcement actions.  At times, they result in hefty fines (especially if your site received multiple citations). But the fines may be the least of  your worries given that the citations can affect the results of following inspections and diminish your reputation in the industry, especially if you rely on government bid work.  WSM’s attorneys work on your behalf directly with MSHA or with the Solicitor’s office to negotiate workable solutions to lessen the impact of the citations on your business.

104(b) Failure to Abate Orders – Advise and provide representation to operators who MSHA has charged with a failure to abate a previously issued citation/order within the set termination date.

104(d) Unwarrantable Failure Citations/Orders – Advise and provide representation to operators charged with an unwarrantable failure to comply with an MSHA regulation. Citations of this level can result in further consequences, including 110(c) special investigations or addition to the D-chain.

D-Chain Solutions – Counsel and represent operators seeking relief from the MSHA D-chain.

104(e) Patten of Violation Orders – Advise and provide representation to operators either facing or already receiving a “pattern of violation” order.

104(g) Orders of Withdrawal – Advise and provide representation operators and contractors who have been issued citations for failing to provide MSHA with the proper training records for employees.

105(c) Investigations and Complaints – Advise and provide representation to management during discrimination investigations and temporary reinstatement hearings.

107(a) Imminent Danger Orders: Advise and provide representation to operators when MSHA issues an imminent danger order. While this order is non-assessable, receiving one is usually accompanied by a 104(a) or 104(d) citation or order and ignoring it could affect operator history.

110(c)/110(d) Special Investigations – WSM provides advice and/or on-hand representation during MSHA agent liability and “knowing and willful” investigations, including involvement in interviews with management.  We also provide representation for litigation associated with agent assessments.

Special Assessments – WSM’s attorneys advise and represent clients on the often confusing and confounding area of MSHA’s special assessment process.

FMSHRC Hearings – Represent mine operators and contractors contesting MSHA actions in hearings before and administrative law judge (ALJ).

FMSHRC/U.S. Court Appeals – WSM handle appeals of adverse ALJ decision’s to the Commission or, if necessary, a U.S. Court of Appeals.

Non-Enforcement/Compliance Services:

Safety/Compliance Audits

Training Records Audit – WSM will review your employee training records to make sure they are in compliance with MSHA standards.

Part 50 Audits 

MSHA Rulemaking Proceedings – WSM provides representation to mine operators seeking to comment on potential MSHA rules and regulations.

Inspection Training – WSM provides mine management with comprehensive training on the best methods and techniques to utilize when accompanying an MSHA inspector on an inspection.