MINING.COM Quotes Willa Perlmutter on Lack of New Mining Safety Regulations to Address COVID-19

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Mining law and OSHA attorney Willa Perlmutter was quoted extensively by MINING.COM in an article titled “More than a year into the pandemic, no new MSHA safety standards regulated,” published May 14, 2021. In the article, Perlmutter discusses the main cause for mining accidents and fatalities, which type of mine receives the most citations and types of violations mines are most commonly cited for, and where she believes the blame lies for the lack of new safety standards to safeguard miners and operators from exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Perlmutter, chair of Stoel Rives’ OSHA group and co-chair of the firm’s mining group, notes that though she has seen the mining industry voluntarily enact safety measures to address COVID-19, neither the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) included any emergency temporary standard for mines in their COVID-19 guidance, which was released last year.

Perlmutter places the blame for the two organizations’ failure to enact new mining safety standards in a familiar place. “I think part of it is that we were looking at two different presidential administrations,” she said. “Part of what happened was there were political agendas at play. The decision to issue or not issue a standard and the timing of any such standard has been largely driven by political considerations.”

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