Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission

Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission

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Federal Mine Safety and Health Review CommissionWhat is the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission?

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission is an independent adjudicative agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for providing administrative trial and appellate review of legal disputes which specifically arise under the regulations and statutes outlined under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act, better known as the Mine Act of 1977.


Under the Mines Act of 1977, the United States Department of Labor formally issued regulations covering the health and safety in our nation’s mines. Federal mine inspectors were subsequently employed by the Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration to enforce these regulations through the issuance of various citations and order to mine operators. As a result of this responsibility, the Commission is concerned only with the adjudication of disputes that arise in accordance with the Mine Act, including the determination of appropriate penalties—the Commission does not regulate mining or enforce the Mine Act itself.

What Specific Cases does the Federal Mine Safety and Health Commission Review?

The majority of cases instituted or covered by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission deal with civil penalties assessed against mine operators and address whether the alleged health or safety violations occurred and whether the attached penalties are appropriate given the violation. Other types of cases administered by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission will include order to close a mine, miner’s charges of safety related discrimination and a miners’ request for compensation following the mine’s closure.

How is the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission Organized?


The Federal Mine  Safety and Health Review Commission is headed by a group of commissioners and  administrative law judges, who are responsible for deciding cases at the trial level. The 5-member commission will provide appellate review and each commissioner is appointed by the President of the United States and subsequently confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

What is an Independent Government Agency?


An independent agency of the United States Federal Government is a department or organization that exists outside of the federal executive departments or those headed by a Cabinet secretary. In a more specific sense, the term Independent Government Agency, is used to describe agencies that, while constitutionally operating within the executive branch, are free from presidential authority or control, as a result of the President’s limited membership within the agency.

Independent government agencies are established through separate statutes passed by the United States Congress; each respective statutory grant of authority will define the goals or mission that the agency must work towards, in addition to the substantive areas, if applicable, over which the Independent Agency may have the power of rulemaking. These agency regulations, when enforced, maintain the power of federal law.

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