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