If 30 CFR §56.7012 requires that “drills shall be attended at all times” while the drill is in operation, can the drill operator leave the inside of his cab?

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission recently affirmed a judge’s decision to vacate MSHA citations under this standard when the drill operator was as many as 18-20 feet away from the drill. In Sec’y of Labor v. Drilling and Blasting Systems, Inc., No. SE 2012-510-M (Feb. 22, 2016), the Commission credited Administrative Law Judge Priscilla Rae’s decision that the drill operator had other safety-critical tasks to perform outside the drill cab, that automatic safety devices would prevent a hazard, and that the mine operator’s witness were experienced and credible in explaining the safety of this approach.  Read a full summary of the decision here.