Proximity Detection Rule Hearings Start Today

MSHA issued the rule because it determined miners are exposed to pinning, crushing, and struck-by hazards when working near mobile machines in underground coal mines.

MSHA will hold four public hearings this month on its proposed rule for proximity detection systems on mobile machines used in underground coal mines, with the first hearing taking place Oct. 6 in Denver and beginning at 9 a.m. at the Embassy Suites Denver Downtown, 1420 Stout St. The rule was published Sept. 2 and would require coal mine operators to equip coal hauling machines and scoops with a technology that uses electronic sensors to detect motion or the location of one object relative to another. The systems can be programmed to send warning signals and stop machines before they injure or kill miners working in an underground mine.

The rule regards shuttle cars, diesel- and battery-powered ram cars, and continuous haulage systems as coal hauling machines. Scoops include both diesel-powered and electrical-powered scoops. MSHA issued the rule because it determined miners are exposed to pinning, crushing, and struck-by hazards when working near mobile machines in underground coal mines. The agency's data shows proximity detection systems could have prevented 42 fatalities on these machines from 1984 through 2014.

The other three meetings are:

  • Birmingham, Ala., Oct. 8, 9 a.m., Sheraton Birmingham, 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North
  • Beaver, W.Va., Oct. 19, 8 a.m., National Mine Health and Safety Academy, 1301 Airport Rd.
  • Indianapolis, Oct. 29, 9 a.m., Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, 350 West Maryland St.

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