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MSHA News Release No. 97-1110
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Wayne Veneman
Phone: (703) 235-1452

Monday, November 10, 1997

MSHA To Provide Nation's Coal Mines Assistance In Complying With New Diesel Safety Standard

The Mine Safety and Health Administration announced today that it will begin immediately to provide consultative assistance to underground coal mine operators in gaining compliance with new regulations on diesel-powered equipment. Published last fall, key provisions on the new rule take effect November 25, 1997.

"We are taking a two-step approach in helping operators comply with the new regulations," said J. Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health. "MSHA inspectors will make pre-compliance visits to all coal mines that use diesel-powered face haulage equipment to examine the mine's overall diesel operation," McAteer explained. "Through these visits we will be able to identify potential problem areas and discuss solutions."

McAteer said that MSHA will also provide consultative services to other underground coal mines using diesel equipment upon the operator's request. These consultations are an opportunity to discuss and resolve any compliance concerns and can be requested by mine operators or representatives of miners by contacting the nearest MSHA Coal Mine Safety and Health District Office.

Diesel-powered equipment can pose a number of potential hazards in underground coal operations. The new regulations will help safeguard miners from fires, explosions, toxic gases and other dangers that can be encountered when using diesel-powered equipment underground.

There are nearly 3,000 diesel units currently operating in underground U.S. coal mines, compared to about 150 in 1974. Diesel machines most often used in underground coal mines include personnel carriers, utility trucks and tractors. Other diesel-powered underground equipment includes generators, scoops, compressors, welders' shuttle cars, road graders and roof-bolting machines.

Recently MSHA provided copies of a compliance guide for the new diesel regulations to all affected operators. Additional copies of this guide can be obtained from MSHA's district offices and is available on MSHA's home page at

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