Training Guide Posted for Coal Mines' Atmospheric Testers

MSHA's final rule specifying how operators of underground coal mines may use belt air -- the practice of ventilating sections of such mines via the entries through which conveyors move coal to the surface -- says operators must require training of Atmospheric Monitoring System operators and make monitoring a primary responsibility. During an emergency, it should be the sole responsibility, according to the notice posted yesterday by the agency.

The notice includes a link to a 31-page training guide for those air monitoring personnel.

The belt air rule took effect immediately; MSHA chief Richard Stickler said it will ensure better protection for underground coal miners because it will replace existing conveyor belts with more flame-resistant belts; add smoke sensors and carbon monoxide sensors, and lower dust levels when belt air is used for a working section that is on a reduced (lower than 1.0 mg per cubic meter of air) dust standard.

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