Mine Safety:

Federal Efforts To Improve Inspections and Injury Reporting

HRD-87-115BR: Published: Sep 14, 1987. Publicly Released: Sep 14, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) inspection practices and injury reporting to assess MSHA: (1) progress toward completing mandatory regular inspections; (2) mechanisms to assess inspection quality; and (3) efforts to verify mine operators' injury reporting.

GAO found that: (1) since 1985, MSHA has improved its completion of mandatory inspections to 97 percent and increased inspection hours by 21 percent; (2) some MSHA officials believed that emphasis on completion of inspections could compromise inspection quality; (3) MSHA is taking steps to improve its ability to assess inspection quality; (4) mine operators blamed significant underreporting of mine-related injuries on unclear MSHA guidelines, but MSHA revised the guidelines to better define reporting responsibilities and reportable injuries; (5) MSHA is using state-provided workers' compensation data to verify and monitor compliance with its injury reporting guidelines; and (6) in 1987, MSHA began issuing severe penalties for negligence and underreporting.

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