• ACRI Training Reduces Costly Penalties and Citations

    Alternative Case Resolution Initiative Training Workshop Protects Your Company, Your Employees and Your Assets from Devastating Fines and Penalties

    Clearwater, FL – Catamount Consulting and Jackson Lewis, P.C. have teamed up to provide Alternative Case Resolution Workshops this spring in Clearwater, FL.

    Mark Savit, partner at Jackson Lewis, P.C., and an expert in mining litigation and health and safety law, says “MSHA has definitely ramped up the number and variety of citations it is issuing. The only way a mining company can operate in this regulatory climate is to become as familiar as it can be with the MSHA citation process. The risk of being unprepared can be devastating.”

    Key strategies can avoid costly citations and reduce your company’s legal and financial liability. “We have partnered with Catamount Consulting, a leader in MSHA, OSHA and work zone safety training, to provide industry experts who will teach you how to deal with MSHA from the moment the field inspectors arrive at your site, through the course of their inspection and after any citations are issued”, said Mr. Savit.

    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has enacted the second phase in major reforms to enforcement and increased inspections of coal, mineral and aggregate mining operations. Since April 2010, when the enhanced inspections began, citations and penalties have risen steadily.

    “MSHA has definitely ramped up the number and variety of citations it’s issuing,” said Mr. Savit. “It is clear that MSHA leadership favors more stringent enforcement as the primary way to ensure safety, and they are taking unprecedented action as of late.”

    Mine operators are particularly vulnerable to MSHA enforcement actions, as many citations carry penalties that can cripple the operating budget of a mining company. “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Mr. Savit, remarking on a recent case in which a small stone quarry was assessed over $500,000 in MSHA penalties. Savit, who began his career at the U.S. Department of the Interior where he headed MSHA’s special investigation unit, said: “The only way a mining company can operate in this regulatory climate is to become as familiar as it can be with the MSHA citation process. The risk of being unprepared for a significant MSHA enforcement action can be devastating.”

    Scott McKenna, a MSHA-certified instructor and owner of Catamount Consulting, agrees. “Mine operators need to know about and respond to any violations on their sites before MSHA does, and they need to know how to deal with citations,” said McKenna. “Ignorance of rights, responsibilities, the Code of Federal Regulations and the ACRI process is simply reckless.”

    ACRI, the Alternative Case Resolution Initiative, is a MSHA program in which ACRI-trained, non-attorney MSHA specialists resolve or adjudicate select enforcement disputes with mine operators arising from citations under the Mine Act. The use of the ACRI process has spread to every type of citation except where serious, disabling or fatal injuries are involved.

    The ACRI Workshop is a two-and-a-half day seminar covering the legal and procedural processes involved in field inspections, citations and ACRI resolution. The ACRI workshop provides mine operators and their representatives the skills necessary to participate in the ACRI process without outside legal representation. Attorneys from Patton Boggs LLP, a preeminent Washington D.C.-based firm, provide insight into MSHA laws, research techniques and litigation procedures. Participants learn how to organize and present legal arguments and receive a manual with form pleadings useful in preparing for settlement conferences and proceedings with Administrative Law Judges.

    ACRI Seminars will take place May 10-12, 2016 at Shephard’s Beach Resort in Clearwater, FL. The cost to attend is $625 per person. More information on the seminar can be found at http://www.catamountconsultingllc.com or by calling Catamount Consulting at (518) 623-2352.

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