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Lack of MSHA Inspectors Could Complicate Its Coming Silica Plan

Dec. 16, 2021, 6:14 PM

Attorneys and advocates are worried about the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration’s approach to combating the resurgence of Covid-19 in the deliberate absence of a rule aimed at curbing its spread. They also question how the agency will implement a long-awaited silica rule listed last week in the Biden administration’s Fall 2021 regulatory agenda.

Complicating its mission, MSHA has seen an almost 40 percent reduction in inspectors over the past 10 years. Compared to 2011, when there were 1,291 inspectors on the payroll, MSHA currently employs 795 inspectors, an agency spokeswoman said in an email.

“The focus will need ...