Summary: S.854 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.854. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (04/05/2017)

Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2017

This bill amends the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 to revise requirements governing: (1) investigations of mine accidents, (2) miners' rights and protections (e.g., whistle-blower rights and protections), (3) mine health and safety standards, (4) underground coal mines, and (5) health and safety training for miners.

The Department of Labor, when investigating coal or other mines, must: (1) determine why an accident occurred and whether there were violations of law, mandatory health and safety standards, or other requirements; (2) refer to the Department of Justice cases involving violations of federal criminal law; and (3) make recommendations to avoid a recurrence of an accident.

The bill expands Labor's enforcement authority, including by requiring Labor to: (1) revoke the approval of mine operators' plans or programs based on certain criteria, and (2) order mine operators to withdraw all persons from a mine until Labor approves a new plan. The bill revises civil and criminal penalties, including by subjecting a mine operator who knowingly violates health or safety standards to a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Underground coal mines operators must implement a communication program to brief miners of current mine conditions and install atmospheric monitoring systems.

The bill amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) to expand its coverage to government employees and increase civil and criminal penalties for violations of the Act. The bill also expands whistle-blower rights and protections against retaliation under the OSH Act, establishes employee rights with respect to work-related bodily injuries or death, and establishes procedures for correcting serious, willful or repeated violations of occupational safety and health standards.