Federal Mine Safety and Health Act Law and Legal Definition

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act is a U.S federal statute enacted in 1977. The Act is commonly known as the Mine Act. The purpose of the enactment was:

1. to establish interim mandatory health and safety standards for the protection of health and safety of the nation’s coal and other miners;

2. to direct the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Secretary of Labor to develop and promulgate improved mandatory health or safety standards;

3. to require that each operator of a coal or other mine and every miner in such mine to comply with certain standards;

4. to cooperate with, and provide assistance to, the States in the development and enforcement of effective State coal or other mine health and safety programs; and

5. to improve and expand, in cooperation with the States and the coal or other mining industry, research and development and training programs aimed at preventing coal or other mine accidents and occupationally caused diseases in the industry.

The purpose of the Act is achieved through the provisions for:

1. combining coal, metal and non metal mines under single legislation;

2. retaining separate health and safety standards for coal mining;

3. transferring enforcement from the Department of Interior to the Department of Labor;

4. renaming the Mine Enforcement Safety Administration (MESA) as Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA);

5. requiring four annual inspections of underground coal mines;

6.requiring two annual inspections of all surface mines;

7. eliminating advisory standards for metal and nonmetal mines;

8. discontinuing state enforcement plans;

9. mandating miner training;

10. requiring mine rescue teams for all underground mines; and

11. providing increased involvement of miners and their representatives in health and safety activities.