By Meagan Newman

Beginning on January 27, 2012 mining companies will have to disclose a broad range of safety violations and other related issues to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC issued the final rule on December 21, 2011, implementing the Mine Safety section of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Section 1503(a) of the Act requires the filing of Form 8-K to disclose orders and notices received from Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in as few as four business days from receipt of some notices or orders. Although some mine safety disclosures were already required by the Act, the new rule clarifies and expands those mandatory disclosures. The rule also requires that mining companies report the total penalties assessed in the reporting period, even if the company is contesting an assessment.

The rule now specifically requires mine companies to provide mine-by-mine totals for the following:

  • Significant and substantial violations of mandatory health or safety standards under section 104 of the Mine Act for which the operator received a citation from MSHA
  • Orders under section 104(b) of the Mine Act
  • Citations and orders for unwarrantable failure of the mine operator to comply with section 104(d) of the Mine Act
  • Flagrant violations under section 110(b)(2) of the Mine Act
  • Imminent danger orders issued under section 107(a) of the Mine Act
  • The dollar value of proposed assessments from MSHA
  • Notices from MSHA of a pattern of violations or potential to have a pattern of violations under section 104(e) of the Mine Act
  • Pending legal actions before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
  • Mining-related fatalities

All affected employers should review their internal record-keeping and SEC reporting processes to ensure the that the correct types of data are being tracked and that notices are filed in a timely manner. The good news for non-mining employers is that when passing the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress ultimately opted not to include a similar requirement under the Occupational Safety Health Act.