Michael T. Heenan

Shareholder Washington D.C.

Michael T. Heenan is one of the best known and most accomplished mine safety attorneys in the country. After the merger of Heenan, Althen & Roles with Ogletree Deakins in 2003, Mr. Heenan became the managing shareholder of the firm’s Washington, DC office through 2010.  He is the founder and a leader of the firm’s national mine safety and health (MSHA) practice.


Michael Heenan is the author of multiple books on mine safety and health including: MSHA Compliance Essentials (MineWorks Media, 2012); MSHA - The Mine Operator and The Law (MineWorks Media, 2003); Safety and Health at Mines (MineWorks Media, 2nd Ed, 2003); Safety and Health at Mines, A Manual for Operators and Contractors (Advanstar, 1999); Understanding MSHA (McGraw Hill, 1981). He is also author of "Federal Regulation of Mine Safety and Health," Mine Safety and Health Management (Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME), 2001) and "Regulation of Mine Safety and Health," Kentucky Mineral Law Manual (Banks, Baldwin, 1986); "Enforcement, Administrative and Judicial Review," Coal Law and Regulation (McGraw Hill, 1983).

Mr. Heenan represents companies in litigation before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission and the United States Courts of Appeals. He assists companies, managers and witnesses in government investigations, including accident investigations and special investigations initiated by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to determine whether individual managers or supervisors are to be prosecuted criminally or civilly. He also responds to complaints of discrimination filed under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act. He conducts investigations underground and on the surface in support of company administrative, management and litigation needs. He has been involved in many precedential cases, while at the same time successfully negotiating many non-litigation solutions to cases and investigations with the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Michael Heenan has represented companies in enforcement actions initiated by the Interior Department, the Treasury Department, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). He advises and assists equipment manufacturers with petitions for approval and certification of equipment, and with government investigations related to compliance and conformity of equipment when it is certified by MSHA and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for mine use. He helps mine operators and independent service and construction contractors with daily compliance, audits and preventative measures. He advises and assists gold mines and a wide variety of other metal mines and processing plants, along with cement plants and other non-metal operations regarding legal and procedural issues that arise during government inspections and investigations. He represents mine operators, construction materials companies and contractors in informal and formal contests of federal enforcement actions. He also represents employers in connection with various state enforcement and adjudicatory proceedings related to mine safety and health.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • Legal Editor, Pit & Quarry Magazine
  • American Bar Association (Labor & Employment Section)
  • National Mining Association (Law and Safety Committees)
  • National Stone Sand & Gravel Association (Council of Counsel)
  • National Safety Council (Business and Industry Section)
  • Energy and Mineral Law Foundation (Former Trustee)
  • George Mason University, New Century College (Former Adjunct Professor)
  • U.S. Department of the Interior (Former Trial Attorney, Office of the Solicitor)
  • U.S. Naval Reserve Officers School (Former Instructor of International Law)
  • Military Service: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy


  • 2015 Florida Industry and Mining Safety, Health & Environmental Conference - ''Preventing MSHA Problems'' - Kissimmee - February 18, 2015
  • Portland Cement Association - ''What Really Happens With MSHA'' - Dallas - November 01, 2014
  • Penn State Mine Safety Conference - ''MSHA Investigations - Avoiding Pain and Suffering'' - Allentown - January 15, 2014
  • Southeastern Mine Safety Conference - ''MSHA Advance Notice and Operator's Right to Representation'' - Birmingham - November 05, 2013
  • Western Mine Safety Conference - ''Elevated MSHA Enforcement - Advance Notice of Inspections'' - Las Vegas - October 22, 2013
  • Pit & Quarry Roundtable Conference - ''Legal Developments Update'' - Ft. Myers - September 26, 2013
  • Iowa Limestone Producers Association Annual Conference - ''Communications With MSHA'' - Cedar Rapids - February 06, 2013
  • Energy & Mineral Law Foundation Conference - ''MSHA Backlog'' - Las Vegas - September 22, 2012
  • Montana Mining Association - ''Accidents at Mines From the Viewpoint of Counsel'' - Butte - May 26, 2011
  • Pit & Quarry Roundtable & Conference - ''MSHA Enforcement-Critical Issues and Insights 2010-2011'' - Nashville - September 30, 2010
  • National Stone Sand & Gravel Association Webinar - ''Managing MSHA Citations and Penalties'' - August 10, 2010
  • Energy & Mineral Law Foundation - ''Due Process for Federal Monetary Penalties'' - Washington, D.C. - March 23, 2010
  • NSSGA Legal Symposium - ''MSHA Civil Penalties—Why So Many Contests?'' - Cincinnati - February 15, 2010
  • Southeastern U.S. Mine Safety and Health Conference - ''MSHA Citations, Penalties and Review Procedures'' - Birmingham - November 07, 2008
  • Mining Health & Safety International Symposium - ''The Duty of Care Model as an Alternative to Mine Safety Regulation'' - Salt Lake City - July 22, 2008
  • Portland Cement Association - ''Increased MSHA Enforcement and Pattern of Violations'' - Reston - May 21, 2008
  • Virginia Transportation Association - ''Accident Scene Preservation'' - Richmond - December 06, 2006
  • Georgia Mining Association - ''Assistance of Counsel in Mine Safety Investigations'' - Macon - May 02, 2006
  • Industrial Minerals Association - ''When Lawyers Help––When They Do Not'' - Pittsburgh - March 21, 2006
  • International Society of Mine Safety Professionals - ''Producers and Contractors Reducing Liability'' - Reno - May 18, 2005
  • United Safety Associates - ''Preventing Legal Liability related to Independent Contractors'' - Ontario - June 03, 2004
  • The Mine Safety Seminar - ''MSHA Problem Solving Workshop'' - Sacramento - November 13, 2003
  • NSSGA - ''MSHA Special Investigation––It Will Never Happen to Me'' - Orlando - February 11, 2003
  • The Virginia Aggregates Association - ''Producers and Contractors-Reducing Liability'' - Roanoke - December 04, 2002
  • Holmes Safety Association - ''HAZCOM for Chemical Hazards in Mines'' - San Antonio - June 04, 2001
  • Illinois Association of Aggregates Producers - ''Avoidance of Harassment and Discrimination in Mines'' - Springfield - May 17, 2001
  • North Carolina Department of Labor - ''Contractor Responsibilities for MSHA Compliance and Training'' - Atlantic Beach - March 23, 2000

Our Insights


Media Quotes

January 2015 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "MSHA Penalty Controversy"
December 2014 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "The Pattern of Violations Game"
October 2014 - Pit & Quarry Magazine - "New MSHA Penalties"

Published Works