MSHA Part 46 Training Requirements for Contractors

msha-part-46-trainining-contractors-imageWhen 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.

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.

And this free guide gives you more information about how online training tools can help you with Part 46.


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.

Download Free Guide

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, and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training.

4 thoughts on “MSHA Part 46 Training Requirements for Contractors

  1. Hi Jeffrey,
    So if I understand you correctly, if my company is hired to put up a steel building on a mine site, that’s it, I am going to need over 14 hours of training for each person I put on that site? In addition, I will have to put them through a site-specific training once they arrive onsite?
    It would sure seem to me that they are Non-Miners.
    Please let me know if that is correct.
    Joe Perrone, EMT-D

    1. Hi, Joe,

      Good question.

      To answer, I’d refer you to the Part 46 regulation:

      In particular, check out 46.29(g)(1), which I’ve copied below.

      “(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.”

      If you’d like to chat about this more, let us know.

  2. Joe, I asked one of my coworkers to follow up with you using the email you left here as well.

    I replied first because it was before office hours, but it’s 8 am here now and folks are in the office, so you’ll be hearing from my coworker shortly. He’ll be able to more fully explain and to answer any additional related questions you may have.

    Good luck and I hope it helps!

  3. In case Joe sees this blog post comments section before he checks his email inbox, or for the benefit of anyone else who’s reading along at home, here’s a fuller reply my coworker Bjorn Ansbro (the Marketing Director here at Convergence) sent to Joe via email. We hope this is helpful to Joe but also of course anyone else reading along.

    “I’ll first qualify anything I contribute with two pieces of information:

    1. It’s always best to get information, clarification, and official interpretations re. the regulations directly from MSHA. There should be state-level offices with MSHA representatives available to offer feedback.
    2. The mine operator for whom your company will be performing the work will likely have the final say. So, connecting directly with them as well is extremely wise. With the exception of law enforcement and MSHA inspectors, MSHA affords mine operators the authority to allow or deny access to their site at their discretion. And from my experience, mine operators are averse to liability exposure, tending toward even more strict adherence to MSHA training regulations for contract workers.

    And these two documents are important reference for understanding what your training and documentation requirements are for MSHA Part 46 as a contractor.

    · Title 30 CFR – Part 46

    After confirming if you’ll be performing work at a Part 46 or Part 48 mine, your next step should be to have a clear understanding of how MSHA defines an “independent contractor.” Please note that if your company and its workers are considered independent contractors while performing construction work, your workers will be required to complete a minimum of 24 hours of MSHA new miner training. Just like a miner. MSHA makes no distinction between miners and contractors at that point.

    46.2(g) “Miner”
    A miner is a 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 construction workers who are exposed to hazards of mining operations for frequent or extended periods.
    The definition of “miner” does not include scientific workers; delivery workers; customers (including commercial over-the-road truck drivers); vendors; or visitors.
    Commercial over the road truck drivers are required to have Site-specific Hazard Awareness Training. Part 46 affords operators the discretion to tailor Site-specific Hazard Awareness Training to the unique operations and conditions at their mines. However, the training must in all cases be sufficient to alert affected persons to site-specific hazards. Under Part 46, Hazard Awareness training is intended to be appropriate for the individual who is receiving it and that the breadth and depth of training vary depending on the skills, background, and job duties of the recipient.
    This definition of “miner” also does not include maintenance or service workers who do not work at a mine site for frequent or extended periods.
    “Frequent” exposure is defined as a pattern of exposure to hazards at mining operations occurring intermittently and repeatedly over time. “Extended” exposure means exposure to hazards at mining operations of more than five consecutive work days.

    I know that it can sound excessive for contractors to be required to complete 24 hours of training, just like a new miner. And in reality, we all know that construction workers are not miners, but from a regulatory standpoint, MSHA treats them the same.

    So, the likelihood is that both the MSHA regulations and the mine operator will require your workers to show documentation that verifies completion of MSHA Part 46 new miner training (assuming the site falls under Part 46 regulations) prior to performing work at the mine.

    Hopefully that helps offer some guidance toward staying compliant. Again, the mine operator and MSHA themselves will be your ultimate resources for next steps. But I’m always happy to offer help along the way.

    Best of luck!”

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