Final Rule Ups Underground Coal Mines' Rescue Requirements

MSHA today issued its final rule setting new requirements for underground coal mines' rescue teams. The rule's text (www.msha.gov/REGS/FEDREG/FINAL/2008finl/08-551.asp) explains in detail comments received and indicates MSHA for the most part retained the language of its proposed rule, which it issued Sept. 6, 2007. By May 8, 2008, the operators of all 653 mines covered by the rule must send a statement to their MSHA district manager describing how they will provide mine rescue coverage as required; by Aug. 8, 2008, every mine must have a mine rescue station located no more than one hour's ground travel time from the mine. If equipment is not readily available, the operator must have purchase orders for the required equipment.

Also by Aug. 8, operators must have a responsible person knowledgeable about mine emergency response who has completed the course of instruction in mine emergency response prescribed by MSHA. By Nov. 10, 2008, each operator of a large mine must have either an individual mine-site team or a composite team as one of its certified rescue teams. Mine rescue team members must have completed 96 hours of annual training, including participation in two local mine rescue contests and training at each covered mine; the current requirement is 40 hours of training, and the September 2007 proposed rule called for 64 hours. The rule says each operator must make two certified mine rescue teams available. All of this implements Section 4 of the MINER Act of 2006.

The rule's text states that these 653 underground coal mines employ 42,597 miners and 8,250 non-office contractors. Only 13 of the mines have more than 500 employees, while 220 of them have fewer than 20 workers. The 653 mines' combined annual revenue is $13.7 billion, and their combined cost to comply with the new rule is $4.8 million, or $7,400 per mine on average, the rule states.

This rulemaking brought to light the special conditions under which anthracite miners work; MSHA's rule notes that these miners generally use hand tools, not mechanization, and the mines may not have electrical power. The average underground anthracite mine employs four miners, and in the past 20 years, no more than one mine rescue team has been needed in the anthracite region for rescue and recovery activities, the rule states, adding that no more than three rescue team members have entered a working place at the same time during such activities.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue