What Is an MSHA Part 46 Training Program?

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If you’re just becoming aware of the MSHA Part 46 training requirements for surface mines (and people who work at surface mines) in the US, there are a number of new terms to become familiar with. One of those is training program or, more specifically, the MSHA Part 46 training program.

In this article, we’ll tell you what a training program is, explain the different training programs that MSHA’s Part 46 requires, and tell you how they fit together into a MSHA Part 46 training plan.

So now, let’s begin learning what a training plan is.

And don’t forget to download the free guide to MSHA training requirements for Parts 46 and 48 and online training tools from the bottom of this article before you go. 

What Is an MSHA Part 46 Training Program?

The MSHA Part 46 training requirements for US surface mines requires mine operators create specific training programs to particular groups of workers at a surface mine site.

Each mandatory training program covers one or more mining safety topics-some of the training programs cover quite a few topics, as you’ll learn below.

In addition to requiring the training cover certain topics, MSHA’s Part 46 also specifies which workers/miners should receive the training, how long the training should last, and when the workers should complete the training.

What Different Part 46 Training Programs Does MSHA Require?

Here’s how the Part 46 regulations in the CFR put this in 46.3:

You must develop and implement a written plan, approved by us under either paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, 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.

So the training programs that MSHA requires at a surface mine 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

The New Miner Training Program

The New Miner training program is explained fully in 46.5.

As you might have guessed, this training program is required for newly hired miners who have not completed this kind of training at a previous job.

The newly hired miner must complete four hours of new miner training before working in any way and at least 24 hours of new miner training before he or she can begin work under the observation of an experienced miner.

Read more about the MSHA Part 46 New Miner training program requirements here.

The Newly Hired Experienced Miner Training Program

The Newly Hired Experienced Miner training program is explained in 46.6 and is similar to the New Miner program, but it’s for new hires who have already received this kind of training in a past job.

Quick side-note: Here’s how MSHA defines x in 46.2:

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)]

The  training required for newly hired experienced miners is similar to the training required for new miners, and there’s overlap between the two training programs. But in general, a newly hired experienced miner will have to complete less mining safety training than a new miner will.

Newly hired experienced miners have to complete four hours of the required Newly Hired Experienced Miner training program before beginning work and the balance of the training program within the first 60 days on the job. This additional training must include training on self-rescue and respiratory devices if they are used at the mine.


The New Task Training Programs

The requirements for New Task training programs is spelled out by MSHA in 46.7.

The basic idea here is that before any miner can perform a new task on the job, that miner must receive new task safety training that matches the hazards of that task.

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. “

Plus, a miner must receive safety training “if a chance occurs in a miner’s assigned task that affects the health and safety risks” the miner will face when performing the task.

It’s worth reviewing the definition of task in MSHA’s Part 46 for this training program:

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

The Annual Refresher Training Program

The Annual Refresher training program is spelled out in MSHA’s 46.8.

And you’ve probably already guessed the basics of this one: After a miner has been hired, and has completed that New Miner or Newly Hired Experienced Miner training program, the miner will have to complete additional refresher safety training every year for Part 46.

According to 46.8, all miners must complete 8 hours of annual refresher training. The annual refresher 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.”

The Site-Specific Hazard Awareness Training Program

The Site-Specific Hazard Awareness training program is discussed in 46.11 (it’s a little hidden down there).

As explained in 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.”

There are two groups of people who have to receive the Site-Specific Hazard Awareness training called for in MSHA Part 46.

The first group is made up of the miners performing mining operations. Often, these miners will receive site-specific hazard awareness training as part of their New Miner training program, Newly Hired Experienced Miner training program, various New Task training programs, and their Annual Refresher training programs.

MSHA describes the second group of people who must receive the Site-Specific Hazard Awareness training program this way: “any person who is not a miner as defined by 46.2 of this part but is present at a mine site.” So for example, that includes:

  • 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

Making MSHA Part 46 Training Compliance Easier

As you see, there’s a lot to do to comply with the MSHA Part 46 training requirements at surface mines. You’ve got to create training programs and a training plan; you’ve got to deliver a lot of training; you’ve got to keep track of new tasks and training expiration dates; and you’ve got to create a lot of certificates and documentations and store them securely; and more.

Why not partner with a company to help with your MSHA Part 46 training compliance needs? We’ve got a learning management system (LMS) that’s specially designed for MSHA Part 46 training compliance. Plus we’ve got a huge collection of online mining safety training courses to help you deliver training matching the MSHA Part 46 training programs we just discussed. And on top of that, we offer general health and safety training online courses as well as an incident management system for workplace safety management.

Check the short video below for a brief introduction to our Convergence MSHA LMS.

Putting Your Training Programs Together to Create a MSHA Part 46 Training Plan

Remember, once you’re designed and assembled your MSHA Part 46 training programs, you’ve got to:

  • Compile them into a MSHA Part 46 training plan for MSHA documentation requirements
  • Deliver the training in those training programs
  • Create certificates for that training and get those certificates to miners
  • Keep records of that training

We’ll write more about the training plan soon, so hang tight for that.

And this article explains the MSHA Part 46 training documentation requirements more fully.

Conclusion: Understanding MSHA Part 46 Training Programs Is Essential

If you’re the owner/operator of a surface mine in the US, it’s critical that you understand the MSHA Part 46 training requirements, including knowing what a training program is, what training must be provided in each training program, when that training should be provided, and to whom.

However, as we hope this article helped explain, understanding all of this about MSHA Part 46 training programs really isn’t that hard. And as we also mentioned, complying with the MSHA training requirements for Part 46 is much easier if you partner with a company like Convergence Training, who has online safety training courses specially designed for compliance with MSHA Part 46 as well as a MSHA-specific LMS for creating all the documentation, certificates, and records.

We hope this article provided some valuable information to you. Before you go, please download our free guide to MSHA Training Compliance and Online Training Tools. 

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MSHA Training Guide and Online Training Tools

Download our free guide to learn about MSHA, the MSHA Part 46 and 48 training requirements, and how to use online tools to satisfy MSHA Parts 46 and 48.

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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.

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