VOLUME V - COAL MINES
75.1404 Automatic Brakes; Speed Reduction Gear
This provision is not intended to require automatic brakes or speed reduction gears on locomotives used by mechanics and others solely to haul repair parts or supplies, or their transportation, provided that no more than one haulage car is used with such locomotives. All other locomotives shall be equipped with hydraulic brakes, pneumatic brakes or dynamic braking, in addition to manual brakes.
75.1405 Automatic Couplers
All track haulage cars which are regularly coupled and uncoupled shall be equipped with automatic couplers. This provision also applies to rubber-rail type haulage cars. Unless an alternate method of coupling has been approved which will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded by automatic couplers, operators are required to install the automatic couplers on their rubber-rail cars.
75.1502 Mine emergency evacuation and firefighting program of instruction
In addition to the simulated drills required by the regulation, the following additional activities may be included in the program of instruction:
The mine operator's program of instruction, required by 30 CFR 75.1502, must include all miners on all shifts. The training program should emphasize the location of the proper routes of travel and the importance of prompt evacuation when such an order is given. The program should incorporate provisions to advise miners of changes to the escapeways, such as rerouting, designation of other entries, and any changes in escape facilities. It should also emphasize proper Self-Contained-Self-Rescuer (SCSR) donning procedures. Specific situations such as encountering smoke dictate donning the SCSR immediately, while others may permit partial or complete evacuation without donning the unit. As evacuation through some smoke may be necessary, the program should include precautions to take when smoke is encountered, as well as instruction and drills in communication techniques emphasizing not to remove the SCSR mouthpiece to talk in contaminated air. All aspects of mine emergency evacuation drills required by paragraph (c) of this Section need not be held underground. For example, portions of the drill, such as demonstrations of fire fighting equipment, may be conducted on the surface. The evacuation portion of the drill need not be held at the same time as the firefighting portion of the drill.
Subpart Q .... Communications
The communication systems that are now in use at each mine will be acceptable at the present time. However, there must be at each mine an operative means of communications between each working section and the surface when the working section is more than 100 feet from the portal.
75.1600-1 Communication Facilities; Main Portals;
The second sentence requires that at least one such communication facility be located where there is a responsible person who is always on duty when miners are underground and can hear the communication and respond.
A telephone or equivalent facility at a central location which may be greater than 500 feet from any portal will satisfy the requirements of the second sentence of this Section, as it applies to multiple-portals of any one mine or a number of mines within a reasonable geographical area, provided that a responsible person at the central location can hear the telephone and respond immediately.
Subpart R .... Miscellaneous
75.1700 Oil and Gas Wells
This provision shall apply to all oil and gas wells including active, inactive, abandoned, shut-in, previously plugged wells, water injection wells and carbon dioxide sequestration wells. This standard also applies to coal bed methane wells drilled from the surface that branch horizontally into the coal seam being mined or will connect through subsidence cracks to active workings. Approval for barriers of less than 300 feet in diameter around the well or horizontal branch of the well, and consistent with State laws, may be granted only by the District Manager. A petition for modification would be required to mine through the well or within the safe barrier as determined by the District Manager.
75.1702 Smoking; Prohibition
This Section is an absolute prohibition against having smoking articles underground and is directed to all persons. When smoking materials, matches, or lighters are found underground, a citation for violation of this Section should be issued to the operator, as well as to the individual miner if he/she can be identified. No evidence is needed of negligence or fault on the part of the operator in order to issue the citation. The condition or practice described in the citation should indicate a violation of the prohibition against smoking articles underground.
The operator's search program for smokers' articles shall be systematic and conducted at least weekly at irregular intervals and as often as necessary to insure that the program is being adhered to and not being violated.
Records of searches for smokers' articles shall be made and kept in a book provided for that purpose in a safe place on the surface, and the records shall be available for inspection.
When an inspector observes a miner smoking underground, he/she shall obtain the name of the miner involved, the names of any witnesses, and issue a citation to the miner. He/she shall also issue a citation or an order of withdrawal to the operator.
Generally, orders of withdrawal are not to be issued, except in appropriate circumstances where an inspector actually observes a person smoking underground or where the operator's search program is not vigorously enforced. In other circumstances, where cigarette butts or cigarettes, lighters, or matches are observed underground, a citation of section 104(a) or 104(d) would be more appropriate. The operator shall post "No Smoking" signs at or near the surface structures where smoking is prohibited.
75.1703 Portable Electric Lamps
Electric cap lamps used for portable illumination underground shall be maintained in permissible condition. Lamps that have been altered, such as by exposing a contact point in the head- piece for use as a shot-firing unit, shall be considered to be nonpermissible.
75.1708 Surface Structures, Fireproofing
Where existing structures are fireproof and were erected on or before March 30, 1970, the erection of fire doors is not necessary.
Fire doors shall be substantially constructed and located in the mine as near as practicable to the surface to prevent the products of combustion from entering and endangering persons underground.
75.1709 Accumulations of Methane and Coal Dust on Surface Coal-Handling Facilities
At least once during each working shift, or more often if necessary, in surface coal-handling and coal-storage facilities, a qualified person designated by the operator shall make examinations for methane wherever the possibility of accumulations exists . A record of such examinations shall be kept. The examinations for methane shall be made with a methane detector approved by the Secretary. When an accumulation of 1.0 percent or more of methane is detected in such surface facilities, means shall be provided to prevent methane from accumulating in such quantity. Tests for methane in surface structures shall be made prior to any repair work in which welding is done or an open flame is used.
The operator shall initiate an effective and systematic program of preventing coal dust from accumulating on coal-handling facilities. The presence of excessive concentrations of coal dust, whether in or on such facilities, constitutes a violation of this provision. Also, where excessive airborne dust could present an explosion hazard, water sprays or other effective means shall be used to allay such dust.
75.1710-1 Canopies or Cabs; Self-Propelled Electric Face
Equipment; Installation Requirements
This Section requires that all self-propelled electric face equipment in all coal mines where the bottom to top (mine floor to mine roof) measurements are 42 inches or greater be equipped with cabs or canopies. The following guidelines are to be used relative to the enforcement of this Section:
- To determine if cabs or canopies are required, the following guidelines are applicable.
- Measurements are to be taken on a section-by-section basis at any given mine.
- Measurements are to be taken at the minimum height (bottom to top) in the working section provided this minimum height is not a result of poor mining practices. Should this be the case, such measurement is to be disregarded and the minimum height determined from measurements at locations where accepted practices were followed.
- For electric face equipment which is regularly required to travel to other areas of the mine, the minimum height (bottom to top) is to be determined within the area of regular travel.
- Where the minimum height frequently fluctuates below and above 42 inches, a citation for a violation of this Section is not to be issued when such fluctuations below 42 inches would routinely create the necessity to remove cabs or canopies. An evaluation of the minimum height is to be made periodically to determine if such fluctuations still exist. These evaluations should normally be made as a part of a mandated regular mine inspection.
- Self-propelled electric face equipment which has machine-mounted operating controls must be provided with a cab or a canopy, as required by this Section, even if the equipment is normally operated by remote controls. Self-propelled electric face equipment without machine-mounted controls is not required to have a cab or canopy as long as the operator using the remote controls is located away from the machine being operated. If, at any time, the remote controls are used for tramming or for any other reason, while placed on the equipment, the equipment operator must be protected by a cab or canopy. The cab or canopy must be positioned over the controls on the equipment so that the equipment operator is protected when using machine-mounted controls or when operating the equipment using remote controls placed on the equipment. This Section applies only to self-propelled electric face equipment where the equipment operator is using remote controls. The equipment operator, however, must be located under roof that has been permanently supported and be a sufficient distance from the equipment to ensure the operator would not be endangered by movement of the equipment.
- If it is determined that cabs or canopies are required (actual mine floor to mine roof is 42 inches or greater) and have not been installed, a citation is to be issued giving reasonable time for abatement. Extensions of time are to be granted only when the mine operator is able to establish to the District enforcement personnel's satisfaction that a "good faith" effort is being made to gain compliance. Examples of acceptable effort include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Management has ordered new or used lower profile equipment on which a cab or canopy is or will be installed and will be workable under the conditions encountered.
- Management has established an acceptable program for the installation of canopies on existing equipment.
- Management has established a test program agreement with the district manager.
- The filing of an application for modification of a safety standard pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section 101(c) of the Act, or the fact that a hearing is pending on such application, is not a cause for staying the issuance of a citation at mines presently required to have cabs or canopies.
- Similarly, the filing of such an application for modification or the fact that a hearing is pending is not grounds for MSHA to extend the reasonable time permitted for the abatement of a citation unless a "good faith" effort, as described in item 2, is also proposed.
- New electric face equipment or used equipment new to a mine is required to have cabs or canopies if the bottom to top measurement is 42 inches or greater.
- When an operator elects to establish a test program, he/she should submit the following information in writing to the district manager(s):
- The name of mine(s) covered by the test program.
- The area(s) of the mine(s) selected for the test program.
- A description of the conditions in the areas(s) and how they would be considered as representative of the mine(s) covered by the test program.
- A list of the equipment to be tested and the type of equipment each test piece will represent.
- A description of the approach which will be pursued on each piece of test equipment.
- A time frame for the work to be performed.
- A general description of the method of orientation and training of the equipment operators in use of the test equipment.
- A commitment to submit periodic progress reports describing the success or failure of the test designs, the problems encountered and the changes made to resolve the problem, etc.
- The name and title of the person(s) designated to monitor, keep records and prepare progress reports on the program.
- If an operator has a one-section mine, a program for testing one piece of equipment at a time would be acceptable.
- If an operator has a multi-section mine, the program would include one piece of equipment of each type in the mine.
- If an operator has several mines with similar conditions and equipment, a program for testing one piece of equipment of each type in these mines would be acceptable. These mines may be located in more than one MSHA District, provided the District Managers concur.
- Controls that position and set the Automated Temporary Roof Support (ATRS) system (including "inch tram" con- trols) are not required to be located under a canopy provided:
- the controls are located on the machine in such a manner that they are operable from under permanently supported roof, and
- the controls are used only within the working place and not to tram from place to place.
- Controls that position the drill station canopy, such as canopy raise, canopy lower, boom swing levers, etc., are not required to be located under a canopy, provided these controls are located on the machine in such a manner that they are operable from under supported roof.
75.1711 Sealing of Mines
The regulation states that the openings of any coal mine that is declared inactive by the operator, or is permanently closed, or abandoned for more than 90 days, shall be sealed. Work to seal shall commence promptly after the 90-day period during which the mine was not ventilated and shall be performed with reasonable diligence.
Each coal mine is categorized by the appropriate District in one of seven statuses. These Statuses include, among others: Abandoned, Intermittent, and Temporarily Idle. These Particular statuses and their relation to the sealing requirements are discussed below.
Abandoned. Sealing is required for miens placed in abandoned status either by the operator or by MSHA. When an operator has not properly updated mine status to abandoned, MSHA will revise the status to abandoned and notify the operator in writing of the status change and the requirement for sealing within 90 days.
Intermittent. Mines place in intermittent status, as a result of being seasonally idled for more than 90 days, are not considered abandoned and the sealing requirements does not apply. However, the mine must remain essentially ready to resume production within a short timeframe. To maintain intermittent status, facilities and equipment such as the mine office, surface and underground power systems, the main mine fan, and underground coal haulage systems must remain intact. In addition, all mine openings must be provided with a positive means to prevent access by unauthorized persons.
Temporarily Idle. Mines in temporarily idled status, even though this status may last longer than 90 days, are not considered permanently closed or abandoned for the purposes of this standard. Mines are considered to be in temporarily idled status when the work of all miners has been terminated and production related activities has ceased. The mine still has recoverable reserves, it is anticipated that this is a temporary condition, and the mine will reopen in the future. This category includes mines that do not maintain ventilation or conduct underground examinations. The only activity at these mines would be security checks, visual examinations of surface areas to determine conditions, or surface activity due to another agency's requirements (e.g. state environmental agency).
While there is no specific time restriction applied to mines in temporarily idled status, it is necessary to verify what activity is taking place at the mine once each quarter. This may be accomplished by a brief mine visit or other documented contact with the mine operator. These mines do not require a regular inspection. The openings of all mines in temporarily idled status must be adequately fenced or guarded prohibiting the entrance of any persons. If an operator removes substantially all recoverable equipment and facilities, such that there is not demonstrable intention of reactivating the mine, the status will be revised to abandoned, the operator notified in writing and sealing shall be required within 90 days.
Prior to persons performing work at or entering temporarily idled mines, the mine operator must notify the District Manager and complete any necessary plan submission (30 CFR 75.1721) or status change.
Districts shall conduct regular reviews to assure that these mines are in the appropriate status. It is unlikely that a mine would remain in intermittent or temporarily idled status for more than 12 consecutive months. If it is determined that the condition has become permanent, the mine operator shall be required to seal the mine.
Appropriate enforcement action under this section shall be taken if it is determined that the openings of mines in either intermittent or temporarily idled status are not adequately fenced or guarded prohibiting access.
Mine sites that have active impoundments are still subject to inspection and therefore cannot be placed in temporarily idled status. However, the site should be reclassified as a surface site and any underground mine sealed, as appropriate.
75.1712-4 Waiver of Surface Facilities Requirements
The bathing facilities, clothing change rooms, and sanitary flush toilet facilities required by Sections 75.1712-1 and 75.1712-4,are at times waived under the authority of this Section. This is normally done because water is not available. Since Section 71.500 requires sanitary facilities at surface work sites of surface coal mines only, the waiving of sanitary facilities under this Section removes the only requirement for the mine operator to provide sanitary facilities at surface work sites of underground coal mines.
Therefore, all waivers should require a chemical toilet (approved under Section 71.500) at each surface worksite of the underground coal mine as a condition of waiving the flush toilets.
75.1712-5 Application for Waiver of Surface Facilities
Section 75.1712 provides that sanitary toilet facilities shall be provided in the active workings of the mine when surface facilities (as required in Section 75.1712-1) are not accessible to the active workings. Based on this provision, Section 75-1712-6 requires an approved sanitary toilet underground within 500 feet of each working place in the mine.
Where a surface sanitary toilet is located within 500 feet of a working place, Section 75.1712-6 is satisfied and there is no requirement for an approved sanitary toilet to be located underground. Thus, for an underground mine which is less than 500 feet in depth, or for an underground drift mine which has advanced to a distance of less than 500 feet, which has sanitary toilet facilities on the surface, there is no requirement for an approved sanitary toilet to be located underground in those portions of the active workings which are within 500 feet of the surface sanitary toilets. In other cases, except where a waiver of the location requirement has been granted as provided in Section 75.1712-7, an approved sanitary toilet is required to be located underground within 500 feet of each working place in the mine where miners are regularly employed.
Sanitary toilets are to be approved by MSHA, Coal Mine Safety and Health. The primary responsibility for gaining approval is that of the toilet manufacturer. A list of approved sanitary toilets for use in underground coal mines is available in district and subdistrict offices and from MSHA, Coal Mine Safety and Health,4015 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22203.
Where a sanitary toilet is found to be in a shipping crate or is otherwise not ready for service, the unit does not satisfy the requirement that an approved sanitary toilet be provided and maintained. If an approved sanitary toilet is not provided, not properly located, or ready for service, a citation for violation of this Section shall be issued.
75.1712-7 Underground Sanitary Facilities; Waiver of Requirements
Upon determination of the District Manager, a waiver of the location requirement may be made. However, only the location requirement may be waived, and the waiver can be granted only on the basis of the thickness of the coal seam or of any other physical restriction in the underground workings. A sanitary toilet is required to be provided, either on the surface or underground, within 500 feet of each working place in the mine,except where a waiver of the location requirement has been granted.
75.1713-1 Arrangements for Emergency Medical Assistance and Transportation for Injured Persons; Agreements; Reporting Requirements; Posting Requirements
Paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Section are not to be interpreted to mean that a physician or an ambulance must be present at the mine at all times. These paragraphs do mean, however, that the required services must be arranged for and be readily available.
Paragraphs (c) and (d) of this Section have been disapproved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to authority under Executive Order 12174 (44 FR 69609) and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980. Beginning January 1, 1982, no enforcement action shall be taken relative to the reporting requirements of these two paragraphs.
Discontinuance of these information reporting requirements does not alter the requirements of paragraph (a), (b), and (c) of this Section. Operators of underground coal mines still must have arrangements established with a licensed physician, medical service, medical clinic or hospital to provide 24-hour emergency medical service and arrangements with an ambulance service, or otherwise provide, for 24-hour emergency transportation for any person injured at the mine.
Likewise, operators must continue to post at appropriate places at the mine the names, titles, addresses, and telephone numbers of all persons or services available under the arrangements for medical assistance and emergency transportation. Where appropriate, inspectors shall make the necessary inquiries to determine the currency and accuracy of the information posted.
75.1714 Availability of Approved Self-Rescue Devices;Instruction in Use and Location
The term "visitor" used in paragraph (a) of this Section includes insurance inspectors, equipment manufacturers' representatives,and others to whom the mine operator may deny entry, but does not include persons having the right to enter the mine. Accordingly,an operator shall not be cited for violation of paragraph (a)when a State mine inspector is observed underground without an SCSR.
Citations for failure of the mine operator to provide self- contained self-rescuers shall be cited under paragraph (a) of this Section. The inspector should include in the body of the citation a statement referring to 30 CFR 75.1714-1(b) which outlines how the provisions of paragraph (a) can be met.
75.1714-1 Approved Self-Rescue Devices
Under paragraph (b)(3) of this Section, MSHA will consider for approval as a self-rescue device or devices, when used and maintained as prescribed by MSHA, a combination of separate 10-minute and 60-minute self-contained breathing apparatus approved under Subpart H of 30 CFR Part 11.