Pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act), on January 2, 2018 the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule laying out the annual adjustments for inflation to its civil monetary penalties under the various regulations it enforces including MSHA.

MSHA maximum penalties for a violation of a mandatory health or safety standard was increased from $69,417 to $70,834. The penalty conversion table used to convert total penalty points based on size, history, negligence and gravity to a dollar amount was likewise revised.  Sixty or fewer points now has a maximum penalty of $132 whereas 140 or more points has a maximum penalty of $70,834.

The minimum penalties for Significant and Substantial violations under Section 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act was raised to $ 2,361 while the minimum penalty for a Withdrawal Order under Section 104(d)(2) increased to $ 4,721. The minimum and maximum penalties for failing to provide timely notification of a death, injury or entrapment of an individual at a mine are now $5,903 and $70,834, respectively.

Failure to correct a violation penalties are now raised from $7,520 to $7,673 for each day during which such failure or violation continues. Miners who willfully violate the mandatory safety standards relating to smoking or the carrying of smoking materials, matches, or lighters are now subject to a civil penalty of not more than $324 for each occurrence of such violation.  The maximum civil money penalties for flagrant violations under Section 110(b)(2) was increased by $5,195 from $254,530 to $259,725.

These new penalties are effective January 2, 2018 and will apply to any citations issued through the remainder of 2018.