The National Stone, Sand Gravel Association (NSSGA) submitted testimony recently to the House Education and Labor Worker Protections Subcommittee hearing on the Supplemental Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2007 (S-MINER, H.R. 2768) and the Miner Health Enhancement Act of 2007 (H.R. 2769), mine safety bills.
NSSGA's statement discusses that the first priority of the aggregates industry is and will continue to be the safety and health of its workers. This commitment is demonstrated by the heightened level of effort invested by the industry to sustain an improved performance and through the development and implementation of more effective safety and health programs. It is a partnership between industry and its workforce and the government's education, training and compliance assistance programs.
The NSSGA statement makes the point that the S-MINER Act is premature because it comes before MSHA and the industry have had adequate time to fully implement the MINER Act and could undermine the success that has been achieved. By imposing another layer of regulation on an industry that already is highly regulated and has shown continued safety improvements at this time would create confusion and threaten further progress. The S-MINER Act takes a one-size-fits-all approach that fails to recognize that mines are unique.
NSSGA members have achieved a continuously improving safety performance record. The MINER Act, written as a result of tragedies in the coal sector, has impacted the aggregates industry. Further extension of the S-MINER Act to the stone, sand and gravel industry is not warranted and contradicted by the industry's improving safety performance.