On February 22, 2018, the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) announced that it would be instituting a new Mobile Inspection Application System (Mobile IAS) to improve and further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of mine inspectors.  MSHA believes that the new system will enable inspectors to better carry out MSHA’s mission of promoting the health and safety of America’s miners.

The existing system has been in place for over 18 years and according to MSHA was extremely outdated and required mine inspectors to carry bulky laptops, cameras, reference material, and documentation from previous inspections.  The new Mobile IAS is based on a new Windows-based, lightweight, semi-rugged tablet with a camera, video, voice recording, touch screen, digital pen, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi capability to facilitate data capture.  The new system should streamline the inspection process through an application built on Microsoft’s Universal Windows platform with photo capture and fillable, pre-populated forms.  In addition, it will have a service-oriented architecture for efficient data transfer among devices and the MSHA Standardized Information System.

MSHA noted that almost 1,500 federal mine inspectors and staff will benefit from the new system and technology.  David Zatezalo, MSHA assistant secretary, stated in a press release that “Enabling mine inspectors to work more efficiently means more time to focus on the health and safety of America’s miners” and that the new system “is expected to improve the quality of information by eliminating redundancy, and provide more timely information for inspectors.”