The Technical Study Panel
on the Utilization of Belt Air
Composition and Fire Retardant Properties
of Belt Materials in Underground Coal Mining
Single Source Page
December 18, 2007
The Technical Study Panel was created under Section 11 of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act)(Public Law 109-236), and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the Technical Study Panel was to "�provide independent scientific and engineering review and recommendations with respect to the utilization of belt air and the composition and fire retardant properties of belt materials in underground coal mining." (MINER Act, Sec. 11)
Dr. Jan M. Mutmansky, Professor Emeritus of Mining Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania was the Technical Study Panel's elected chairman.
Other Panel members were: Dr. Jurgen F. Brune, Director, Spokane Research Laboratory, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Dr. Felipe Calizaya, Associate Professor, University of Utah, Mining Engineering, Salt Lake City, Utah; Dr. Jerry C. Tien, Associate Professor, Department of Mining Engineering, University of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, Missouri; Mr. Thomas P. Mucho, Thomas P. Mucho & Associates, Inc., Mining Consultancy, Washington, Pennsylvania; and Dr. James L. Weeks, Director, Evergreen Consulting, LLC, Silver Spring, Maryland.
This report, which is the final product of the Technical Study Panel, contains the Panel's consensus recommendations.
- Final Report - (1.4MB)
On December 31, 2008, the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) final rule that implements the recommendations of the Technical Study Panel (Panel) on the Utilization of Belt Air and the Composition and Fire Retardant Properties of Belt Material in Underground Coal Mining was published in the Federal Register's Web site. The Secretary established the Panel in accordance with Section 11 of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006. The Panel conducted an independent scientific engineering review and issued its report on December 20, 2007. MSHA issued a proposed rule on June 19, 2008 and conducted four public hearings.
- Final Rule - 12/31/2008
- Correction to Final Rule - 01/21/2009
- Questions and Answers
for MSHA's Final Rule On Conveyor Belt, Fire Prevention And Detection, And Use Of Air From The Belt Entry - 04/27/2009
Requirements of the Final Rule
The final rule requires underground coal mine operators to:
- Place in service conveyor belts that are more flame resistant than those currently used beginning one year after the effective date of the final rule (all existing belts must be replaced within 10 years).
- Request District Manager approval in the mine ventilation plan to use air from the belt entry to ventilate working sections.
- Replace point-type heat sensors with carbon monoxide sensors.
Other major provisions:
Mine operators also must:
- Improve belt maintenance by requiring belts to be aligned, damaged rollers to be replaced, and by prohibiting materials in the belt entry where they may contribute to a frictional heating hazard.
- Standardize signals on lifelines in escapeways to identify direction of travel to the surface, SCSR storage caches, personnel doors and refuge alternatives.
- Require training of Atmospheric Monitoring System (AMS) operators and make monitoring the AMS a primary responsibility (during an emergency the sole responsibility).
( See Training Guide Below)
- Require the primary escapeway to have a higher ventilating pressure than the belt entry to prevent the primary escapeway from being contaminated by a fire in the belt entry.
- Establish airlocks where high air pressure differentials exist on personnel doors along escapeways to allow safe access to adjacent entries.
- Establish minimum and maximum air velocities in belt entries to assure appropriate fire detection.
- Require lower dust levels in belt entries for mines that use air from the belt entry to ventilate a working section if the working section is on a reduced (lower than 1.0 mg/m3) dust standard.
- Install smoke sensors in addition to carbon monoxide sensors in mines that use air from the belt entry to ventilate the working section. Smoke sensors would be required one year after approval for use in underground coal mines.
Atmospheric Monitoring Systems Operator's Training Guide
- Training Guide
- Task Training for Atmospheric Monitoring System (AMS) Operators (Task Training Addendum)
Belt Drive Fire Suppression Presentation
Fire Suppression Committee Stakeholder Meetings in March 2008
- Presentation - (306 KB)
All Meeting Submissions
- Materials submitted for the January 2007 meeting, including transcripts.
- Materials submitted for the March 2007 meeting, including transcripts.
- Materials submitted for the May 2007 meeting, including transcripts.
- Materials submitted for the June 2007 meeting, including transcripts.
- Materials submitted for the September 2007 meeting, including transcripts.
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