Increase in Criminal Enforcement in MSHA Cases

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.

A full copy of the December 17, 2015 MOU between DOL and DOJ can be found here.