MSHA Publishes Final Rule for Underground Coal Mine Rescue Teams

The Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) yesterday published a final rule in the Federal Register for mine rescue teams regarding underground coal mines. The final rule amends existing standards published Feb. 8, 2008, in accordance with the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006.

"MSHA recognizes the invaluable role that mine rescue teams play in the aftermath of a mine disaster," said Michael A. Davis, MSHA's deputy assistant secretary for operations. "These teams are critical for ensuring the necessary response in the event of a mine emergency."

The United Mine Workers of America challenged that rule and, on Feb. 10, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its decision.

In its decision, the court vacated three portions of the final rule which allow:

  • Mine-site and state-sponsored teams to train at small mines annually rather than semi-annually.
  • State employees who are members of state-sponsored teams to substitute certain job duties for participation in one of the two mine rescue contests required annually.
  • State employees who are members of state-sponsored teams to participate in mine rescue contests by serving as judges.

The final rule requires that mine-site and state-sponsored teams train semi-annually at small mines, rather than annually, and state employees who are members of state-sponsored teams participate in two mine rescue contests annually.

In the preamble to the final rule, MSHA rescinds its intent, as stated in the preamble to the 2008 rule, that members of state-sponsored mine rescue teams may participate in mine rescue contests by serving as judges. Under this final rule, all members of state-sponsored teams who are full-time employees must participate in two local mine rescue contests.

Delayed compliance dates of six months and one year, respectively, are included for Kentucky mine operators to establish new teams and complete the training in accordance with the requirements of this final rule.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2022

    June 2022

    Featuring:

    • SAFETY CULTURE
      Corporate Safety Culture Is Workplace Culture
    • HEAT STRESS
      Keeping Workers Safe from Heat-Related Illnesses & Injuries
    • EMPLOYEE HEALTH SCREENING
      Should Employers Consider Oral Fluid Drug Testing?
    • PPE FOR WOMEN
      Addressing Physical Differences
    View This Issue