MSHA Part 46 Training Requirements for Contractors



When a contractor is working at a surface mine, it brings up a lot of questions regarding the MSHA Part 46 training requirements for contractors. For example, who’s responsible for what in terms of providing the MSHA Part 46 safety training? And, of course, there are questions about the type of training the contractor needs to receive, who pays, etc.

If you don’t know all the ins and outs of this issue now, you will by the time you finish this article. So let’s get started with this overview of MSHA Part 46 training for contract employees.

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Who’s Who in the MSHA Part 46 Contractor Training Picture

There are three roles to consider in this discussion. They are listed and defined below:

The production-operator: As defined in 46.2(2)(m), this is “any owner, lessee, or other person who operates, controls, or supervises a mine under this part.

The independent contractor: As defined in 46.2(2)(e), this is “…any person, partnership, corporation, subsidiary of a corporation, firm, association, or other organization that contracts to perform services at a mine under this part.

Employees of the independent contractor who work at a mine site: These are the people who work for the independent contractors defined immediately above and who work at a mine site where Part 46 training requirements apply. These employees are considered “miners” as explained in 46.2(g)(1)(i) and (ii)–“Any person, including any operator or supervisor, who works at a mine and who is engaged in mining operations. This definition includes independent contractors and employees of independent contractors who are engaged in mining operations; and any construction worker who is exposed to hazards of mining operations.

That may make you wonder what “mining operations” means. Here’s how that’s defined in 46.2(h): “Mining operations means mine development, drilling, blasting, extraction, milling, crushing, screening, or sizing of minerals at a mine; maintenance and repair of mining equipment; and associated haulage of materials within the mine from these activities.

The Production-Operator’s MSHA Part 46 Requirements for Contractor Training

The production-operator has two primary responsibilities when it comes to the employees of independent contractors who will be working at their site as miners.

  • The first is that the “production-operator has primary responsibility for ensuring that site-specific hazard awareness training is given to employees of independent contractors who are required to receive such training under 46.11…”. That’s from 46.12(a)(1). You can read more about the Part 46 requirements for site-specific hazard awareness training here.
  • The second is to “provide information to each independent contractor who employs a person at the mine on site-specific mine hazards and the obligation of the contractor to comply with our (‘our’ means ‘MSHA” there) regulations, including the requirements of this part.” That’s from 46.12(a)(2).

The Independent Contractor’s MSHA Part 46 Requirements for Contractor Training

Now let’s look at the independent contractor’s responsibilities for Part 46 training for his or her workers (who are considered “miners” under 46.2).

  • The independent contractorhas primary responsibility for complying with 46.3 through 46.10 of this part, including providing new miner training, newly hired experienced miner training, new task training, and annual refresher training.” That quote’s from 46.12(b)(1), and those links take you to the MSHA site that explains each of those Part 46 training programs in more detail.
  • In addition, the independent contractormust inform the production-operator of any hazards of which the contractor is aware that may be created by the performance of the contractors work at the mine.

Note that because 46.12(b)(1) says the independent contractor is responsible for complying with 46.3-46.10, that includes creating a training plan (46.3) and keeping records of training (46.9).

Who Pays the Contractors While They’re Training and How Much?

The independent contractor.

In 46.12(b)(1), it says the “independent contractor…has primary responsibility for complying with 46.3-46.10,” and in 46.10 it says “Training must be conducted during normal working hours. Persons required to receive training must be paid at a rate of pay that corresponds to the rate of pay they would have received had they been performing their normal work tasks.

Conclusion: MSHA Part 46 Training for Contractors

That’s our little overview of MSHA Part 46 training for contractors. If you had some questions or confusion before, we hope we’ve addressed them. Of course, feel free to use the comments section below to write any of your own thoughts or other questions–we’d love to hear from you.

If you need help creating and delivering MSHA training to contractors, miners, and other employees, check out the following links:

Here’s a short, two-minute video overview of our LMS for Mining Safety/MSHA Compliance, a tool that can help you with your MSHA Part 46 safety training and compliance.




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