National Mining Association Challenges Evacuation Standards

The National Mining Association is challenging MSHA's emergency evacuation standards, saying they do not adhere to the MINER Act's requirement that the storage and location of self-contained self-rescuer devices be addressed in each mine's emergency response plan on a flexible, mine-by-mine basis. MSHA's rules bars mine operators from storing SCSRs in cross cuts between escapeways unless they are in hardened rooms that meet the standards of a rescue chamber, NMA said in its latest e-newsletter.

NMA also contends the regulations violate the Mine Safety and Health Act by not having been promulgated in the Federal Register and made available for public comment, as safety standards must be. MSHA's standards were not done this way, so they should be struck down, the trade association contends.

The association contends the standards should permit common caches of SCSRs to be located wherever safety benefits may result. It also said Dave Lauriski, a former MSHA chief, provided a declaration that NMA filed at the same time. In it, Lauriski said the standards result in excessive restrictions on common caches and thus deny possibly life-saving benefits of storing SCSRs that way, according to NMA.

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