Occupational Medicine
A Basic Guide

06: U.S. Work Laws, and Regulations

Mine Safety and Health Administration
Beau Braswell, JD

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is also an agency under the U.S. Department of Labor. Similar to OHSA, it develops and enforces safety and health rules for mines regardless of size, number of employees, commodity mined, or method of extraction (such as coalmines, rock quarries, and gravel pits). MSHA also provides technical, educational, and other assistance to mine operators.


MSHA establishes medical surveillance guidelines for mine employees. Historically, miners have been plagued with respiratory diseases (see chapters 2 and 8). Thus, pulmonary exams are an important aspect of screening. For example, coal mine operators must conduct spirometry and chest X-ray examinations with specific reading requirements for all surface and underground coal mine operators. Mine rescue team members must receive initial and annual physicals to ensure that capability to perform emergency rescue and recovery duties; their physicians must sign an MSHA Certificate of Physical Qualification for Mine Rescue Work.