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Heart Attack Not Reportable Under Part 50

Posted by Ellen Smith on August 7, 2013

A miner’s heart attack was not subject to MSHA’s “immediate” reporting requirement under Part 50, ALJ William Moran ruled Aug. 5.

At the time of the heart attack, the miner was driving a haul truck. He began having chest pains and exited the vehicle, lying down near a berm. A dozer operator and another driver went to help him, and he informed them that he thought he was having a heart attack.

The company called the local abulance at 3:35, and then management officials, who were off-site, were called right after the ambulance. Once they received details and assessed the situation, management then called MSHA at about 4:20.

The key facts in this case were that there was not an “accident.” The miner did not crash the truck or have a sudden, one-time event that happended in one instant.

The company relied on a Sept. 28, 1988 Program Information Bulletin (PIN No. 88-05) that offers the distinction between an injury, which would have to be reported within 15 minutes, and an illness, which is not instantaneous.

Moran said that applying MSHA’s theory, a duty to report would arise if a miner was eating a doughnut in a break room, then choked while eating it and passed out, and then required rescue personnel to arrive at the mine to resisciate him.

In this present case, no CPR was needed, although the miner did undergo surgery for a blockage.

While MSHA required the company to change its practices, and call MSHA immediatley following any 911 call, Judge Moran noted that “nowhere in Part 50 is a 911 call listed as a trigger to notify MSHA.”

A complete story and the full text will be in the Vol. 20, No. 16 issue of Mine Safety and Health News.

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