A Beginner’s Guide to MSHA and OSHA

Whether you’re looking to start a new career, or simply move up the ladder, the Texas mining industry offers plenty of opportunities. The problem most people have is trying to make sense of all the various safety and training certifications needed to work in the industry. To shine some much-needed light on things we’ve put together everything you need to know in this easy to follow 2-minute read.

What Are MSHA and OSHA?

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is an agency from the Department of Labor that specializes in implementing health and safety practices across the 12,000 mines and processing locations throughout the United States. Their job is to keep miners safe and ensure everyone is properly trained.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a second agency within the Department of Labor that oversees health safety across all workplaces. As well as mines, it covers offices, retail environments, and manufacturing to name just a few.

Why are there two separate regulatory bodies?

This is largely historical, but for the purposes of gaining employment in the mining industry, all you need to know is which courses you need to take to become fully certified. As a new miner, you will be required to take the MSHA’s 24 Hour New Miner class so that you can be fully prepared for the unique safety challenges found in mining. Whilst some of the content will overlap with any existing OSHA certifications you may have, you will also need to complete the MSHA 24 Hour New Miner class in order to start your employment.

How are they different?

There are a number of ways in which the two agencies differ, most notably in terms of how they deal with inspections. OSHA inspections are typically triggered by complaints, reported hazards, and fatal accidents. By contrast, MSHA carries out inspections of surface mines at least twice a year; and for underground mines that number increases to a least 4 times a year.

What do I need to know?

While MSHA has jurisdiction at all mines and processing plants, OSHA can claim jurisdiction at any workplace, this leads to a degree of overlap. As the employee of a mine or mining contractor in Texas or elsewhere in the United States you will be subject to MSHA regulations.

How do I proceed?

If you’ve been hired by a mine or mining contractor contact a local course provider and sign yourself up for the MSHA 24 Hour New Miner class so you can go to work.