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Question: What is the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act (also known as the Mine Act)?
Answer: The Mine Act requires the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to inspect surface mines at least twice a year and underground mines at least four times a year (seasonal or intermittent operations are inspected less frequently). MSHA performs other important mandatory activities under the Mine Act. These include:
-investigating mine accidents, complaints of retaliatory discrimination filed by miners, hazardous condition complaints, knowing or willful (criminal) violations committed by agents of mine operators, and petitions for modification of mandatory safety standards;
-developing improved mandatory safety and health standards;
-assessing and collecting civil monetary penalties for violations of mine safety and health standards;
-expanding programs for the education and training of miners, operators and agents;
-reviewing for approval mine operators' mining plans and education and training plans; and
-approving and certifying the design of certain mining products.