There has been a recent increase in criminal enforcement in MSHA cases. The increase in MSHA criminal cases stems from a December 17, 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) between the Department of Labor (“DOL”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”).
Under the Memorandum of Understanding,
- Investigators are encouraged to investigate workplace safety (including MSHA) violations for potential criminal charges;
- Prosecutors are encouraged to add other criminal charges to MSHA violations, such as charges for making false statements, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and conspiracy;
- DOL is encouraged to increase its information sharing with DOJ; and
- DOJ is encouraged to consider the DOL’s criminal referrals.