What Is MSHA Part 46? Training Requirements for Surface Mines

MSHA Part 46 Training Requirements for Surface Mines Image

Some of you are seasoned hands well aware of the MSHA Part 46 training requirements. But maybe a refresher would help. Others may be new to the field and might find this article a helpful introduction.

So let’s dive in and take a closer look at MSHA Part 46.

In future articles, we’ll show you how you could use minining safety e-learning courses for part of your Part 46 Training Plan, and how using a learning management system (LMS) can help you assign, deliver, track, report on, and create documentation of that training.

If you want to jump immediately to “go,” check out the following online MSHA training options and tools we’ve got for you:

Finally, you’re going to be happy to know we’ve included a Free Guide to MSHA Training Requirements at the bottom of this article for you.

What Is MSHA?

MSHA is an acronym that stands for the Mine Safety and Health Administration. They’re the government agency tasked with safety and health issues at mines. One aspect of their responsibility is to make sure miners receive proper safety training.

What Is MSHA Part 46?

Part 46 is a part of CFR Title 30 Mineral Resources. It deals with mandatory training and training documentation requirements at certain mine sites (see below to learn which mines).

At Which Mine Sites Does MSHA Part 46 Apply?

Part 46 applies to “miners engaged in shell dredging, or employed at sand, gravel, surface stone, surface clay, colloidal phosphate, or surface limestone mines.” (46.1)

What Are the Training Plans and Training Programs that MSHA Part 46 Requires?

Part 46 requires operators of mines covered by the scope of Part 46 (see above) to create a “training plan” (46.3) for the mine site that includes a number of required “training programs.” In this article, we’ll explain both training plans AND training programs. We’ll look at training programs first.

What Is an MSHA Part 46 Training Program?

Part 46 requires mine operators to provide certain “training programs” to certain workers at a mine site. A training program is a set of training on specific topics (mandated by Part 46) that must be delivered to different workers and/or to workers at different times. These training programs are:

  • New Miner Training Program
  • Newly Hired Experienced Miner Training Program
  • New Task Training Programs (one for each new task)
  • Annual Refresher Training Program
  • Site-Specific Hazard Awareness

We’ll go into detail about each of these in the sections below.

New Miner Training Program (46.5):

Typically, every newly hired miner who has not completed this type of training before at a different job must complete 24 hours of new miner training before that miner can work without being observed by an experienced miner. (See the definitions of New Miner and Newly Hired Experienced Miner below for more on this distinction.)

In addition, of these 24 hours, four hours must be completed before the new miner can begin work at all. After the first four hours of training have been completed, the miner can work where an experienced miner can observe that the new miner is performing his or her work in a safe and health manner until the full 24 hours of training is reached.

Let’s pause for a moment for some definitions relevant to the paragraph above. These are taken from 46.2, Definitions.

New Miner: A person who is beginning employment as a miner with a production-operator or independent contractor and who is not an experienced miner. [46.2(i)]

Experienced Miner: (i) A person who is employed as a miner on April 14, 1999; (ii) A person who has at least 12 months of cumulative surface mining or equivalent experience on or before October 2, 2000; (iii) A person who began employment as a miner after April 14, 1999, but before October 2, 2000 and who has received new miner training under §48.25 of this title or under proposed requirements published April 14, 1999, which are available from the Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, MSHA, 1100 Wilson Blvd., Room 2352, Arlington, Virginia 22209-3939; or (iv) A person employed as a miner on or after October 2, 2000 who has completed 24 hours of new miner training under §46.5 of this part or under §48.25 of this title and who has at least 12 cumulative months of surface mining or equivalent experience. [(46.2(d)(1)(i-iv)]

Finally, there are some exceptions for miners who did work at a mine in the past, received new miner training there, but never reached “experienced miner” status. For more information on these exceptions, see 46.5(f) and 46.5(g).

When New Miner Training Must Occur Subjects Required by New Miner Training Program
Before new miner begins work 1. An introduction to the work environment. Includes a visit and tour of the mine, or portions of the mine that are representative of the entire mine (walk-around training). The method of mining or operation utilized must be explained and observed.
Before new miner begins work 2. Instruction on the recognition and avoidance of electrical hazards and other hazards present at the mine. Instruction can include things such as traffic patterns and control, mobile equipment (e.g., haul trucks and front-end loaders), and loose or unstable ground conditions.
Before new miner begins work 3. A review of the emergency medical procedures, escape and emergency evacuation plans, in effect at the mine, and instruction on the fire-warning signals and firefighting procedures.
Before new miner begins work 4. Instruction on the health and safety aspects of the tasks to be assigned. Includes the safe work procedures of such tasks, the mandatory health and safety standards pertinent to such tasks, information about the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the miner’s work area, the protective measures a miner can take against these hazards, and the contents of the mine’s HazCom program.
Before new miner begins work 5. Instruction on the statutory rights of miners and their representatives under the Act. Instruction should be based on the Federal Mine Safety & Health Act of 1977.
Before new miner begins work 6. A review and description of the line of authority of supervisors and miners’ representatives and the responsibilities of such supervisors and miners’ representatives.
Before new miner begins work 7. An introduction to your rules and procedures for reporting hazards.
Before new miner begins work 8. Site-specific hazards. Note: Part 46 doesn’t specifically call out training on “site-specific hazards” in the same way that it does the other topics listed above (or below), but instead notes that the training topics listed above “must also address site-specific hazards.” As a result, we’ve chosen to call them out specifically so it’s less likely you’ll miss this.
No later than 60 calendar days after a new miner begins work at the mine 9. Instruction and demonstration on the use, care, and maintenance of self-rescue and respiratory devices, if used at the mine.
No later than 60 calendar days after a new miner begins work at the mine 10. A review of first aid methods.
No later than 90 calendar days after a new miner begins work at the mine 11. The balance, if any, of the 24 hours of training on any other subjects that promote occupational health and safety for miners at the mine.

You may also want to see this article for more on MSHA Part 46 New Miner Training Requirements.

And here’s a helfpul article about online training options for MSHA Part 46 New Miner training.

Newly Hired Experienced Miner Training Program (46.6):

Newly hired experienced miners (remember the definition of “experienced miners” above) must receive a different training program than newly hired (non-experienced) miners do. The two training programs are similar and there’s overlap, but in general, newly hired experienced miners have to complete less training than new miners do.

Some of this training must be completed before the newly hired experienced miner can begin work. The rest of it must be completed within the first 60 days. There’s a partial exception for an experienced miner “…who returns to the same mine, following an absence of 12 months or less…”–see 46.6(f) for the details.

Newly hired experienced miners must receive no less than four hours of training on the subjects numbered 1-8 below before they begin work at the mine.

In addition, they must receive training about self-rescue and respiratory devices, if used at the mine, no later than 60 days after beginning work.

It’s all explained in detail in the table below.

When Newly Hired Experienced Miner Training Must Occur Subjects Required by Newly Hired Experienced Miner Training Program
Before new miner begins work 1. An introduction to the work environment. Includes a visit and tour of the mine, or portions of the mine that are representative of the entire mine (walk-around training). The method of mining or operation utilized must be explained and observed.
Before new miner begins work 2. Instruction on the recognition and avoidance of electrical hazards and other hazards present at the mine. Instruction can include things such as traffic patterns and control, mobile equipment (e.g., haul trucks and front-end loaders), and loose or unstable ground conditions.
Before new miner begins work 3. A review of the emergency medical procedures, escape and emergency evacuation plans, in effect at the mine, and instruction on the fire-warning signals and firefighting procedures.
Before new miner begins work 4. Instruction on the health and safety aspects of the tasks to be assigned. Includes the safe work procedures of such tasks, the mandatory health and safety standards pertinent to such tasks, information about the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the miner’s work area, the protective measures a miner can take against these hazards, and the contents of the mine’s HazCom program.Note: According to 46.4(d), “Practice under the close observation of a competent person may be used to fulfill the requirement for training on the health and safety aspects of an assigned task in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, if hazard recognition training specific to the assigned task is given before the miner performs the task.”
Before new miner begins work 5. Instruction on the statutory rights of miners and their representatives under the Act. Instruction should be based on the Federal Mine Safety & Health Act of 1977.
Before new miner begins work 6. A review and description of the line of authority of supervisors and miners’ representatives and the responsibilities of such supervisors and miners’ representatives.
Before new miner begins work 7. An introduction to your rules and procedures for reporting hazards.
Before new miner begins work 8. Site-specific hazards. Note: Part 46 doesn’t specifically call out training on “site-specific hazards” in the same way that it does the other topics listed above (or below), but instead notes that the training topics listed above “must also address site-specific hazards.” As a result, we’ve chosen to call them out specifically so it’s less likely you’ll miss this.
No later than 60 calendar days after a new miner begins work at the mine 9. Instruction and demonstration on the use, care, and maintenance of self-rescue and respiratory devices, if used at the mine.

Various “New Task” Training Programs (46.7):

A miner must be complete a “New Task” Training Program every time the miner “is reassigned to a new task in which he or she has no previous work experience.” This training must be completed before the miner can begin the new task. In addition, the miner must receive similar safety training “If a change occurs in a miner’s assigned task that affects the health and safety risks encountered by the miner.”

Again, let’s pause for a definition from the regulation:

Task: a work assignment or component of a job that requires specific job knowledge or experience. [46.2(n)]

So, for example, you might have New Task Training programs like the ones listed below (and obviously, there could be many more).

  • Dozer Operator
  • Haul Truck Operator
  • Welding
  • Operating a Crusher

According to part 46.7, the training must include “the health and safety aspects of the task to be assigned, including the safe work procedures of such task, information about the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the miner’s work area, the protective measures a miner can take against these hazards, and the contents of the mine’s HazCom program. ”

There’s an exception for miners “who have received training in a similar task or who have previous work experience in the task. ” These miners must “demonstrate the necessary skills to perform the task in a safe and healthful manner.” See 46.7(c) for more details.

You may also want to check this article for more information about using online training for MSHA Part 46 New Task training.

Annual Refresher Training Program (46.8):

Once you’ve provided your “new hire” miners with the New Miner Training Program or the Newly Hired Experienced Miner Training Program, and you’ve delivered any New Task Training Programs necessary, the next thing to do is to turn your attention to the Part 46 requirement for Annual Refresher safety and health training.

All miners must receive eight hours of annual refresher training. This training must be provided “No later than 12 months after the miner begins work at the mine” and “Thereafter, no later than 12 months after the previous annual refresher training was completed.” (46.8)

Again, let’s take a look at a key definition here from 46.2.

Miner: (i) 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 (ii) Any construction worker who is exposed to hazards of mining operations.

The standard goes on to say that “The definition of “miner” does not include scientific workers; delivery workers; customers (including commercial over-the-road truck drivers); vendors; or visitors. This definition also does not include maintenance or service workers who do not work at a mine site for frequent or extended periods.”

This training can include repeats of the training that was provided as part of the New Miner and the Newly Hired Experienced Miner Training Programs. We’ve covered that above, so we won’t go into detail about that here.

In addition, however, 46.8 says two things that are of particular interest here.

First, the standard says that you “must include instruction on changes at the mine that could adversely affect the miner’s health or safety.”

And second, the standard lists some additional topics for which you could provide annual refresher training. This list is informative, so we’ll copy a rather large section of the standard here [46.8(2)(c)]:

“Refresher training must also address other health and safety subjects that are relevant to mining operations at the mine. Recommended subjects include, but are not limited to: applicable health and safety requirements, including mandatory health and safety standards; information about the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the miner’s work area, the protective measures a miner can take against these hazards, and the contents of the mine’s HazCom program; transportation controls and communication systems; escape and emergency evacuation plans, firewarning and firefighting; ground conditions and control; traffic patterns and control; working in areas of highwalls; water hazards, pits, and spoil banks; illumination and night work; first aid; electrical hazards; prevention of accidents; health; explosives; and respiratory devices. Training is also recommended on the hazards associated with the equipment that has accounted for the most fatalities and serious injuries at the mines covered by this rule, including: mobile equipment (haulage and service trucks, front-end loaders and tractors); conveyor systems; cranes; crushers; excavators; and dredges. Other recommended subjects include: maintenance and repair (use of hand tools and welding equipment); material handling; fall prevention and protection; and working around moving objects (machine guarding).”

Site-Specific Hazard Awareness Training Program (46.11):

According to 46.11(d), “Site-specific hazard awareness training is information or instructions on the hazards a person could be exposed to while at the mine, as well as applicable emergency procedures.”

The training requirements for site-specific hazard awareness training apply to two large groups of people:

First, the miners performing miner operations. In most cases, this site-specific hazard awareness training would be provided initially as part of the New Miner Training Program or the Newly Hired Experienced Miner Training Program. In addition, it could be covered in various New Task Training Programs (which can be included in the previous two). And finally it might be included in the yearly Annual Refresher Training Program.

Second, it must be provided “to any person who is not a miner as defined by §46.2 of this part but is present at a mine site.”

All together, that means mine operators must provide site-specific hazard awareness training to the following people [46.11(a, b, and c)]:

  • Newly hired miners and experienced miners, as defined above. This training can be part of their new miner and newly hired experienced miner training programs.
  • Miners, such as drillers or blasters, who move from one mine to another mine while remaining employed by the same production-operator or independent contractor (provide site-specific hazard awareness training for each mine)
  • Office or staff personnel
  • Scientific workers
  • Delivery workers
  • Customers, including commercial over-the-road truck drivers
  • Construction workers or employees of independent contractors who are not miners under §46.2 of this part
  • Maintenance or service workers who do not work at the mine site for frequent or extended periods
  • Vendors or visitors

Who’s NOT required to receive and complete site-specific hazard awareness training? According to 46.11(f), “Site-specific hazard awareness training is not required for any person who is accompanied at all times by an experienced miner who is familiar with hazards specific to the mine site.”

In terms of the training topics/subjects to be covered, the standard has this to say:

“Information or instructions on the hazards a person could be exposed to while at the mine, as well as applicable emergency procedures. The training must address site-specific health and safety risks, such as unique geologic or environmental conditions, recognition and avoidance of hazards such as electrical and powered-haulage hazards, traffic patterns and control, and restricted areas; and warning and evacuation signals, evacuation and emergency procedures, or other special safety procedures.”

What Is an MSHA Part 46 “Training Plan?”

So we’ve now covered the 5 “basic” Part 46 Training Programs. To refresh, they are New Miner, Newly Hired Experienced Miner, Annual Refresher, Site-Specific Hazard Awareness, and any number of New Tasks.

Now let’s take a step back and learn about what Part 46 calls a Training Plan (46.3 and 46.4).

A Training Plan is “a written plan…that contains effective programs for training new miners and newly hired experienced miners, training miners for new tasks, annual refresher training, and site-specific hazard awareness training.” [46.3(a)] Mine operators regulated by Part 46 must develop an implement a Training Plan.

What Must a Training Plan Include?

The Training Plan is a written plan for delivering your various Part 46 training programs. According to 46.3(b), here’s what your Training Plan has to include (at minimum):

  • “The name of the production-operator or independent contractor, mine name(s), and MSHA mine identification number(s) or independent contractor identification number(s)” [46.3(b)(1)]
  • Jeff Dalto, Senior Learning & Performance Improvement Manager
    Jeff is a learning designer and performance improvement specialist with more than 20 years in learning and development, 15+ of which have been spent working in manufacturing, industrial, and architecture, engineering & construction training. Jeff has worked side-by-side with more than 50 companies as they implemented online training. Jeff is an advocate for using evidence-based training practices and is currently completing a Masters degree in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning from Boise State University. He writes the Vector Solutions | Convergence Training blog and invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.

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