United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Employment – mining — Fourth Amendment
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration did not exceed its authority in requiring, in addition to injury and illness reports, that miners permit an MSHA inspector to review employee medical and personnel records during their next inspections.
“The records that MSHA seeks from mine operators are reasonably necessary for the agency to be able to fulfill its responsibility to protect miner safety and health. Without the records, significant numbers of mine-related injuries and illnesses may go unaccounted for, and mines operating under risky and hazardous conditions may continue to do so without sanction. While the petitioners raise important privacy concerns, Justice Holmes reminded us to ‘remember that the machinery of government would not work if it were not allowed a little play in its joints.’ Bain Peanut Co. v. Pinson, 282 U.S. 499, 501 (1931). In light of the long history of mine accidents and illness, Congress has given the Secretary and MSHA powerful tools to protect miners. Those tools include the demands to inspect documents at issue here.”
Petitions for Review of an Order of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, Hamilton, J.