MSHA Finalizes Mine Safety Standard

Dec. 11, 2006
MSHA has issued a final rule requiring mine operators to increase the availability of emergency breathing devices, improve emergency evacuation and drill training and install lifelines for emergency evacuation, among other measures.

The rule finalizes an emergency temporary standard that MSHA issued earlier this year. The agency held public hearings to discuss the temporary standard, which was designed to improve miner safety by helping miners evacuate an underground mine during an emergency.

The temporary standard was prompted by a spate of coal mine tragedies early in the year, including a January explosion at the Sago Mine in West Virginia that killed 11 miners.

MSHA's new final rule shows mine operators how to comply with the requirements of the MINER Act, which Congress passed overwhelmingly after coal mining tragedies such as the one in Sago.

"These new requirements are an integrated approach to providing proper guidance to miners and mine operators during emergency situations," MSHA Administrator Richard Stickler said. "The new rule adds additional protections for miners and provides them with more tools to survive a mining accident should one occur."

Other requirements of the new rule include:

  • Additional self-contained self-rescue (SCSR) devices for persons in underground coal mines – in working places, on mantrips, in escapeways and where outby crews work or travel.
  • Submission of a revised training plan and a revised program of instruction for improved training on SCSRs; it includes a new requirement for annual SCSR expectations training (training in smoke or simulated smoke and breathing through a realistic training unit).
  • Improved quarterly emergency mine evacuation training, including a drill.
  • Installation of lifelines.
  • Additional multi-gas detectors to alert miners as to when to don SCSRs.

One of the more significant results of the new rule is the establishment of only one phone number for use in reporting mine accidents within 15 minutes after it is known that an accident occurred. All mine operators, including operators of metal and non-metal mines, must call (800) 746-1553 to report mining accidents within the required time limit.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!