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DOL/MSHA RIN: 1219-AB53 Publication ID: Spring 2008
Title: Mine Rescue Teams
Abstract: On June 15, 2006, Pub. L. 109-236 or the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (MINER Act) of 2006 became effective. This rulemaking implements section 4 of the MINER Act by amending existing standards and developing new standards to provide for certification, composition, and training requirements for mine rescue teams in underground coal mines. Mine rescue team members also must be at the mine within an hour from the mine rescue station; requirements for mine rescue teams are set forth in 30 CFR part 49.
Agency: Department of Labor(DOL) Priority: Other Significant
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Completed Actions
Major: No Unfunded Mandates: No
CFR Citation: 30 CFR 49 (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.)
Legal Authority: 30 USC 957; 30 USC 811; 30 USC 825
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
Final Statutory 12/15/2007

Statement of Need: Section 4 of the MINER Act requires the Secretary of Labor to finalize mandatory health and safety standards relating to mine rescue teams in underground coal mines no later than December 15, 2007. Existing standards require properly trained mine rescue teams to be available within 2 hours to the mine rescue station during mine emergencies. The MINER Act requires team members to have underground coal mining experience and requires teams to participate in mine rescue contests. The MINER Act also provides for multi-employer teams, State-sponsored teams, and contract teams to ensure the availability of qualified mine rescue teams.

Summary of the Legal Basis: Promulgation of this regulation is authorized by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and the MINER Act of 2006.

Alternatives: As required by the MINER Act, MSHA must publish a regulation on mine rescue teams.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The proposed rule would increase safety and improve effectiveness of mine rescue teams. MSHA estimates that the yearly cost of the final rule will be $4.8 million for the underground coal mine industry and $0.1 million for State-sponsored mine rescue teams.

Risks: Mine explosions at the Sago Mine and Darby No. 1 Mine and a mine fire at the Alma Mine in 2006 resulted in the deaths of 19 underground coal miners. Explosions, fires, and the migration of potentially explosive methane-air mixtures from worked-out areas to the working areas of an underground coal mine endanger all miners who work in the mine, including potential rescuers.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM 09/06/2007 72 FR 51320
NPRM Comment Period End 11/09/2007
NPRM Comment Period Extended 11/16/2007 72 FR 63530
Final Action 02/08/2008 73 FR 7636
Final Action Effective 02/08/2008
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No Government Levels Affected: State
Small Entities Affected: Businesses Federalism: No
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes
RIN Information URL: Public Comment URL:
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No
Agency Contact:
Patricia W. Silvey
Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances
Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Room 631, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350,
Arlington, VA 22209-3939
Phone:202 693-9440
Fax:202 693-9441