Do Contract Construction Workers at Surface Mines Need All 24 Hours of MSHA Part 46 Training?

Consider this hypothetical situation:

You’re a construction worker, you’re preparing to work as a contractor at a surface mine covered by the MSHA Part 46 training regulations, and you’ll be building a structure (not at all what comes to your mind when you think of surface mining). 

Got that? If you’re still reading, we think that’s because this isn’t such a hypothetical situation to you at all, and maybe it directly relates to something you’ll be doing soon.

So the question is this: Do you have to take all 24 hours of the mandatory MSHA Part 46 New Miner training?

We answer that question in this article. So read on.

Contract Construction Workers Preparing to Work at Part 46-Regulated Mine Sites

So what do you think the answer is? Yes or no?

Will that construction-working contractor be required to complete the same 24 hours of MSHA New Miner training that someone who’s truly engaged in what you’d normally consider mining tasks at the same mine will be required to complete?

Even if that construction worker is doing work you don’t normally think of as mining?

The answer is: YES. This contract construction worker WILL have to complete the full 24 hours of MSHA New Miner training, with a minimum of four (4) hours completed before he/she begins work.

Seem fair? Maybe, maybe not, but as we all know, life’s not about what’s fair. It’s about doing what you have to do. So let’s see what MSHA says about this in their Part 46 regulations in 46(g)(1):

(g)(1) Miner means:

(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.

That’s the catch, in that line immediately above, when the Part 46 regulation says “any construction worker who is exposed to hazards of mining operation.”

And, this little tid-bit from 46(h)(i) is also relevant:

(i) New miner means a person who is beginning employment as a miner with a production-operator or independent contractor and who is not an experienced miner.

And so, that’s where this hypothetical situation and this little learning experience ends. The construction worker doing contract work at a surface mine IS required to complete the full 24 hours of MSHA Part 46 New Miner safety training.

Now that you know, you can get started with some online training for that required new miner training here. And let us know if you’ve got any more questions on this.


Conclusion: Contract Construction Workers and MSHA Part 46 Training

We hope this helped to answer your questions on this topic. Let us know if there’s anything else we can do to help or if there are any other questions you may have.

For some additional reading material related to MSHA Part 46 and contractors, check out any of the following:

And don’t forget to download our free guide to online MSHA training, below.

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Online MSHA Compliance Guide

Download our free guide to learn how online tools can help you create safer work conditions at a mine site, stay compliant with MSHA Part 46 regulations, and manage your training program more efficiently.

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Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. He's worked in training/learning & development for 20 years, in safety and safety training for more than 10, is an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for General Industry OSHA 10 and 30, has completed a General Industry Safety and Health Specialist Certificate from the University of Washington/Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center, and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training.

2 thoughts on “Do Contract Construction Workers at Surface Mines Need All 24 Hours of MSHA Part 46 Training?

  1. Would love to know how that may or may not apply to consultants, like engineers, who also regularly attend construction sites. They are not construction workers, do they also require the training?

    1. Michelle, it’s always best to ask someone at an MSHA District Office, but to answer your question, I’d refer you to the definition of “miner” in the part 46 regulation:

      (g)(1) Miner means:
      (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.
      (2) 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.
      Source: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=feb4e30f8538d5c1159bf119eddabcc1&mc=true&node=se30.1.46_12&rgn=div8

      So I think it depends on if you see yourself fitting the “construction worker” bucket (you seem to think no) or one of the excluded professions/roles, such as “scientific workers.” I’d guess the answer here is that you’re in the second bucket.

      You may still have to take site-specific hazard awareness training as explained in 46.11: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=&SID=3c1e5fdbfaf8971bb87e4d8a5099bf1c&mc=true&n=pt30.1.46&r=PART&ty=HTML#se30.1.46_111

      Here’s what it says there (notice both the general requirement and also the exemption if you’re always accompanied):

      §46.11 Site-specific hazard awareness training.
      (a) You must provide site-specific hazard awareness training before any person specified under this section is exposed to mine hazards.
      (b) You must provide site-specific hazard awareness training, as appropriate, to any person who is not a miner as defined by §46.2 of this part but is present at a mine site, including:
      (1) Office or staff personnel;
      (2) Scientific workers;
      (3) Delivery workers;
      (4) Customers, including commercial over-the-road truck drivers;
      (5) Construction workers or employees of independent contractors who are not miners under §46.2 of this part;
      (6) Maintenance or service workers who do not work at the mine site for frequent or extended periods; and
      (7) Vendors or visitors.
      (c) You must provide 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 with site-specific hazard awareness training for each mine.
      (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 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.
      (e) You may provide site-specific hazard awareness training through the use of written hazard warnings, oral instruction, signs and posted warnings, walkaround training, or other appropriate means that alert persons to site-specific hazards at the mine.
      (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.

      Hope that helps. I’ll send an email follow-up for you. Or feel free to reach out to me.

      x

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