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U.S. Department of Labor

Mine Safety and Health Administration
201 12th Street South, Suite 401
Arlington, VA 22202-5450

EFFECTIVE DATE:   May 11, 2012 EXPIRATION DATE: 3/31/2024
LAST VALIDATED: 03/31/2021


                    Administrator for
                    Coal Mine Safety and Health

SUBJECT:     Reporting of Unplanned Roof Falls in Accordance with
                    30 C.F.R. § 50.10

This Program Policy Letter (PPL) applies to underground coal mine operators, miners' representatives, independent contractors, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) enforcement personnel.

This PPL provides guidance to the mining community for the reporting of accidents involving roof falls as required by 30 C.F.R. § 50.10.


Which unplanned roof falls must operators report?  The following are types of unplanned roof falls that must be reported under 30 C.F.R. §§ 50.2 and 50.10:

Are there other requirements related to roof falls?  In addition, under 30 C.F.R. § 75.223(b), underground coal mine operators must plot on a mine map each roof or rib fall and coal or rock burst that occurs in active workings if it:

  1. is above the anchorage zone where roof bolts are used;
  2. impairs ventilation;
  3. impedes passage of persons;
  4. causes miners to be withdrawn from the affected area; or
  5. disrupts regular mining activities for more than one hour.

Under § 75.223(c), this map must be available at the mine site to authorized representatives of the Secretary and the miners.

What does “active workings” mean?  For underground coal mines, under 30 C.F.R. § 75.2 “active workings” are defined as “Any place in a coal mine where miners are normally required to work or travel.”  Examples of areas in a coal mine that could be an active working include: the working section, primary and secondary escapeways, belt or haulage entries, travelways to any producing or nonproducing sections, travelways through bleeder entries to and including evaluation points and measurement point locations, travelways from the tailgate entry of a longwall section, pump locations, normal examiner routes, re-designated travelways and escapeways, and any other areas that miners normally work or travel. 

An active working does not include worked out areas or areas adjacent to active workings that are not normally traveled such as common entries in a single aircourse and unmaintained entries.  These areas should be dangered-off to prevent persons from traveling through them.

What are some examples of reportable and non-reportable roof falls?

MSHA standards at 30 C.F.R. § 50.10 require operators to immediately report specific types of unplanned roof falls as “accidents.”  Under 30 C.F.R. § 50.2, an “accident” includes an unplanned roof fall at or above the anchorage zone in the active workings where roof bolts are being used.  An “accident” also includes an unplanned roof or rib fall in active workings that impairs ventilation or impedes travel.  

The reporting and map plotting of roof fall accidents that occur in the active workings of a mine assist the operator and MSHA in evaluating the effectiveness of the roof control system and identifying hazardous trends in areas where miners normally work or travel.  Under 30 C.F.R. § 75.223(d), MSHA reviews roof control plans at least every six months, taking roof, face and rib falls into consideration.  Under 30 C.F.R. § 75.223(a), the operator must propose revisions of the roof control plan when roof falls at a mine indicate the plan is inadequate.  Further clarifying areas that require reporting of roof falls will make evaluations of roof control plans more consistent and effective.

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, as amended, 30 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.; 30 C.F.R. §§ 50.2, 50.10, 57.2, 75.2 and 75.223.

Internet Availability
The PPL may be viewed on the Internet by accessing the MSHA home page ( and choosing “Compliance Info” and “Program Policy Letters.”

Issuing Office and Contact person**
Mine Safety and Health Enforcement, Safety Division
Don Braenovich, (202) 693-9551

Stephen Gigliotti, (202) 693-9479

MSHA Coal and All-volume Program Policy Manual Holders
MSHA Special Interest Groups
Coal Mine Operators
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Operators