Thunder Basin Coal Co. v. Reich, 510 U.S. 200, 4 (1994)

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Cite as: 510 U. S. 200 (1994)

Opinion of the Court

safety inspections of the Nation's mines.1 Section 813(f) provides:

"[A] representative of the operator and a representative authorized by his miners shall be given an opportunity to accompany the Secretary or his authorized representative during the physical inspection of any coal or other mine . . . for the purpose of aiding such inspection and to participate in pre- or post-inspection conferences held at the mine."

Regulations promulgated under this section define a miners' representative as "[a]ny person or organization which represents two or more miners at a coal or other mine for the purposes of the Act." 30 CFR 40.1(b)(1) (1993).

In addition to exercising these "walk-around" inspection rights under 813(f), persons designated as representatives of the miners may obtain certain health and safety information 2 and promote health and safety enforcement.3 Once the mine employees designate one or more persons as their rep-1 Underground mines must be inspected at least four times a year, and surface mines must be inspected at least twice annually. 30 U. S. C. 813(a).

2 Miners' representatives are entitled to receive "a copy of any order, citation, notice, or decision" issued by the Secretary to the mine operator, 30 U. S. C. 819(b), as well as copies of certain mine health and safety records available to the Secretary regarding employee exposure to toxic or other harmful agents, 813(c), daily mine inspections, 30 CFR 77.1713, and plans for mine evacuation, 77.1101, roof control, 75.220, and employee training, 48.3 and 48.23.

3 Miners' representatives, among other things, may inform the Secretary of mine hazards, 30 U. S. C. 813(g)(2), request immediate additional inspections of the mine when a violation or imminent danger exists, 813(g)(1), and participate in proceedings before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, 815(d). Representatives may request or challenge certain enforcement actions against a mine operator, 815(d) and 817(e)(1), contest the time an operator is given to abate a Mine Act violation, 815(d), and initiate proceedings to modify the application of health and safety standards, 30 CFR 44.3.

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