The Mine Safety and Health Administration or MSHA (nicknamed “emshaw”) is the government organization that oversees safety at mines, quarries, and related industries. MSHA is headquartered in Arlington, VA, with district offices at six locations around the United States. There are presently over 850 inspectors within MSHA.
How does MSHA impact scales and the scale industry? Legislation has been on the books since the 1970s relating to berms, guardrails, elevated roadways, bridges, and roads on mine property. These regulations, however, have been very loosely enforced with respect to truck scales. Truck scales have just recently been clearly defined by MSHA as elevated roadways and are therefore now subject to MSHA policies regarding guardrails and berms.
In early 2009 MSHA inspectors initiated an aggressive campaign at these facilities, levying significant fines and penalties related to guardrails on truck scales. Compliance has generally been left to the discretion of the local MSHA inspector. MSHA has been vague in the past as to what was expected from scale owners. The most common criteria provided by MSHA up until this time was that “guardrails were to be half the height of the largest tire on a powered vehicle to cross the scale.” Rice Lake and other scale suppliers have provided higher rails to satisfy the requirement—and this appeared to be acceptable to most MSHA inspectors. This interpretation changed with the release of the MSHA policy letter on August 26, 2010.
The new policy as it relates to truck scales applies specifically to all mining operations and businesses located on mine property, including aggregate facilities, sand and gravel, bulk cement, concrete plants, asphalt operations, strip mines, tipple operations, coal loadouts, and other related businesses. These policies apply to both metal and non-metal mine facilities. Continue reading