Labor Dept delays Obama-era mine safety rule

Labor Dept delays Obama-era mine safety rule
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The Trump administration is delaying Obama-era workplace safety requirements for miners.

The Labor Department on Monday delayed the agency's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) rule, the day before it was set to go into effect.

MSHA issued the rule on the final day of President Obama's administration in January. It was delayed to give small businesses that operate mines more time to comply with the changes, the agency said.

The rule called for mine operators to examine new sites before sending miners to work and alert the workers to dangers if hazardous conditions are not fixed promptly. It also called for operators to keep track of places they examined, any hazards identified there and when the problems were fixed.

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The Obama administration said the rule is intended to prevent mining accidents and save workers’ lives. According to the Labor Department, 122 workers died as a result of mining accidents from 2010 through 2015.

At the time the rule was issued, the Labor Department argued 16 of these accidents could have been prevented if the condition of these mines had been reported.

The Labor Department estimates the mining rule will cost industry nearly $35 million to comply with, but did not quantify the benefits.

The costs could affect about 11,000 mine operators, most of which are small businesses, according to the agency.

The miner protections are now set to go into effect on Oct. 2.