Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
4/26/2017

Requirements Applicable to Surface Coal Mines

§ 45.1-161.253. Scope of chapter.

This chapter shall be applicable to the operation of any surface coal mine in the Commonwealth, and shall supplement the provisions of Chapter 14.2 (§ 45.1-161.7 et seq.).

1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.254. Regulations governing conditions and practices at surface coal mines.

A. The Chief shall have authority, after consultation with the Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board and in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to ensure safe and healthy working conditions in surface coal mines in the Commonwealth. Such rules and regulations governing surface coal mines shall relate to:

1. Safety and health standards for the protection of the life, health and property of, and the prevention of injuries to persons involved in or likely to be affected by any surface coal mining operations which shall include but not be limited to the control of dust concentration levels; installation, maintenance and use of electrical devices, equipment, cables and wires; fire protection; the use and storage of explosives; hoistings; drilling; loading and haulage areas; training of surface miners; preparation of responses to emergencies; examinations of conditions at a surface mine site; and reporting requirements;

2. The storage or disposal of any matter or materials extracted or disturbed as the result of a surface coal mining operation or operations or used in the mining operation or for the refinement or preparation of the materials extracted from the coal mining operation so that such matter or material does not threaten the health or safety of the miners or the general public; and

3. The operation, inspection, operating condition and movement of drilling equipment and machines to protect the health, safety and property of miners and the general public.

B. The Chief shall not promulgate any rule or regulation establishing requirements for the operation of, or conditions at, a surface coal mine which are inconsistent with requirements established by this Act.

Code 1950, §§ 45-8, 45-84; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-104; 1972, c. 784; 1974, c. 323; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 118; 1990, c. 963; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.255. Standards for regulations.

In promulgating the rules and regulations pursuant to § 45.1-161.254, the Chief shall consider:

1. Standards utilized and generally recognized by the surface coal mining industry;

2. Standards established by recognized professional coal mining organizations and groups;

3. Standards established by federal mine safety laws;

4. Research, demonstrations, experiments and such other information that is available regarding the maintenance of the highest degree of safety protection, including the latest available scientific data in the field, the technical feasibility of the standards, and the experience gained under this Act and other mine safety laws; and

5. Such other criteria as shall be necessary for the protection of the safety and health of miners and other persons or property likely to be affected by surface coal mines or related operations.

Code 1950, §§ 45-8, 45-84; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-104; 1972, c. 784; 1974, c. 323; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 118; 1990, c. 963; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.256. Safety examinations.

A. On-shift examinations of the work area including pit, auger, thin seam and highwall operations shall be conducted by certified persons once every production shift and at such other times or frequency as the Chief designates necessary for hazardous conditions.

B. Pre-operational examinations of all mobile equipment shall be conducted by an authorized person.

C. Pre-shift examinations shall be conducted by a certified person for certain hazardous conditions designated by the Chief.

D. Mine refuse piles shall be examined daily by an authorized person on any day on which a person works at such location.

E. The location of all natural gas pipelines on permitted surface mine areas shall be identified and conspicuously marked so that equipment operators can readily see such lines. Pre-shift examinations shall be conducted of the location of pipelines whenever the work area approaches within 500 feet unless otherwise approved by the Chief.

F. Air quality examinations shall be conducted by a certified person when a surface coal mining operation intersects an underground mine, auger hole or other underground workings.

G. Examinations for methane shall be conducted in surface installations, enclosures or other facilities in which coal is handled or stored once each production shift. Such areas shall also be tested for methane before any activity involving welding, cutting or an open flame. Examinations pursuant to this subsection shall be made by an authorized person certified to make gas tests.

H. Electrical equipment and wiring shall be inspected as often as necessary but at least once a month.

I. Fire extinguishers shall be examined at least once every six months.

J. Areas of inactive surface coal mines shall be examined for hazardous conditions by a mine foreman immediately before miners are permitted to enter into such areas to take emergency actions to preserve a mine.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-61, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-42, 45.1-65; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 118, 120; 1982, c. 385; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.257. Records of examinations.

A. Documentation of examinations and testing conducted pursuant to § 45.1-161.256 shall be recorded in a mine record book provided for that purpose. Documentation shall include hazardous conditions found in the work area. However, examinations of fire extinguishers shall be conducted by an authorized person and documentation shall be accomplished by recording the date of the examination on a permanent tag attached to the extinguisher.

B. The actual methane readings taken during examinations required under this Act shall be recorded in the mine record book.

C. The surface foreman shall maintain and sign a daily record book. Where such reports disclose hazardous conditions, the surface foreman shall take prompt action to have such conditions corrected, barricaded, or posted with warning signs.

D. Records shall be countersigned by the supervisor of the examiner creating the records. Where such records disclose hazardous conditions, the countersigning of the records shall be performed no later than the end of the next regularly scheduled working shift following the shift for which the examination records were completed, and the person countersigning shall ensure that actions to eliminate or control the hazardous conditions have been taken. Where such records do not disclose hazardous conditions, the countersigning may be completed within 24 hours following the end of the shift for which the examination records were completed. The operator may authorize another person with equivalent authority of the supervisor to act in the supervisor's temporary absence to read and countersign the records and ensure that action is taken to eliminate the hazardous conditions disclosed in the records.

E. All records of inspections shall be open for inspection by interested persons and maintained at the mine site for a minimum of one year.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-61, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-42, 45.1-65; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 118, 120; 1982, c. 385; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2007, cc. 894, 914.

§ 45.1-161.258. Areas with safety or health hazards; duties of surface mine foreman.

A. Any hazardous condition shall be corrected promptly or the affected area shall be barricaded or posted with warning signs specifying the hazard and proper safety procedures. Any imminent danger that cannot be removed within a reasonable time shall be reported to the Chief by the quickest available means.

B. The surface mine foreman shall see that the requirements of this Act pertaining to his duties and to the health and safety of the miners are fully complied with at all times.

C. The surface mine foreman shall see that every miner employed to work at the mine, before beginning work therein, is aware of all hazardous conditions incident to his work at the mine.

Code 1950, §§ 45-7, 45-12, 45-14.1, 45-35, 45-40, 45-61, 45-68.1, 45-68.4, 45-69, 45-73, 45-75, 45-78, 45-79, 45-81, 45-83; 1950, p. 156; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-17, 45.1-21, 45.1-42, 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 118, 222, 489, 729; 1982, c. 255; 1984, cc. 178, 590; 1985, c. 500; 1988, c. 577; 1993, cc. 170, 171, 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2015, cc. 103, 397.

§ 45.1-161.259. Personal protection devices and practices.

A. All persons at a surface coal mine shall wear the following protection in the specified conditions:

1. Hard hats in and around mines where falling objects may cause injury.

2. Hard-toed footwear in and around mines.

3. Safety goggles or shields where there is a hazard of flying material.

4. Protective shield or goggles when welding.

5. Snug-fitting clothes when working around moving parts or machinery.

6. Gloves where hands could be injured. Gauntlet cuffed gloves are prohibited around moving machinery.

B. Ear protection shall be supplied by the operator to all miners upon request.

C. Every person assigned to or performing duties at a surface mine work area shall wear reflective materials adequate to be visible from all sides. The reflective material shall be placed on hard hats and at least one other item of outer clothing such as belts, suspenders, jackets, coats, coveralls, shirts, pants, or vests.

Code 1950, §§ 45-72, 45-86; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-26, 45.1-99; 1978, cc. 489, 729; 1994, c. 28; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.260. Housekeeping.

A. Good housekeeping shall be practiced in and around buildings, shafts, slopes, yards and other areas of the mine. Such practices include cleanliness, orderly storage of materials, and the removal of possible sources of injury, such as stumbling hazards, protruding nails, broken glass and material that may potentially fall or roll.

B. All surface mine structures, enclosures, and other facilities shall be maintained in a safe condition.

Code 1950, § 45-85.8; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-37; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.261. Noxious fumes.

Painting or operations creating noxious fumes shall be performed only in a well-ventilated atmosphere.

Code 1950, § 45-85.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-34; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.262. First aid equipment.

Each surface coal mine shall have an adequate supply of first aid equipment as determined by the Chief. Such supplies shall be located at strategic locations at the mine site so as to be available in a reasonable response time. The first aid supplies shall be encased in suitable sanitary receptacles designed to be reasonably dust-tight and moisture proof. In addition to the supplies in the cases, blankets, splints and properly constructed stretchers in good conditions shall be provided. The supplies shall be available for use of all persons employed at the mine. No first aid supplies shall be removed or diverted without authorization except in case of injury at the mine.

Code 1950, § 45-69.6; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-101; 1978, c. 94; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.263. First aid training.

A. Surface foremen shall have completed and passed a first aid course of study as prescribed by the Chief. The Chief is authorized to utilize the Department's educational and training facilities in the conduct of such training programs and may require the cooperation of mine operators in making such programs available to their employees.

B. Each operator of a surface coal mine, upon request, shall make available to every miner employed in such mine first aid training, including refresher training.

1977, c. 679, § 45.1-101.2; 1978, c. 94; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.264. Attention to injured persons.

A. Prompt medical attention shall be provided in the event of an injury, and adequate facilities shall be made available for transporting injured persons to a hospital where necessary.

B. Safe transportation shall be provided to move injured persons from the site where the injury occurred to areas accessible to emergency transportation.

C. The operator of each mine shall post directional signs that are conspicuously located to identify the routes of ingress to and egress from any mine located off of a public road.

Code 1950, § 45-69.6; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-101; 1978, c. 94; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.265. Fire-fighting equipment; duties in case of fire; fire precaution in transportation of mining equipment; fire prevention generally.

A. Each mine shall be provided with suitable fire-fighting equipment, adequate for the size of the mine and shall include at least three 20-pound dry chemical fire extinguishers. Equipment and devices used for the detection, warning and extinguishing of fires shall be suitable in type, size and quantity for the type of fire hazard that may be encountered. Such equipment and devices shall be strategically located and plainly identified.

B. Suitable fire extinguishers shall be provided at all (i) electrical stations, such as substations, transformer stations and permanent pump stations, (ii) self-propelled mobile equipment, (iii) belt heads, (iv) areas used for the storage of flammable materials, (v) fueling stations, and (vi) other areas that may constitute a fire hazard, so as to be out of the smoke in case of a fire.

Code 1950, § 45-14.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1978, c. 118; 1984, c. 590; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.266. Duties in case of fire.

A. Should a fire occur, the person discovering it and any person in the vicinity of the fire shall make a prompt effort to extinguish it. When a fire that may endanger persons at the mine cannot be extinguished immediately, all persons shall be withdrawn promptly from the area of the fire.

B. In case of any unplanned fire at or about a mine not extinguished within thirty minutes of discovery, the operator or agent shall report by the quickest available means to the Chief, giving all information known to him regarding the fire. The Chief shall take prompt action, based on the information, to go in person or dispatch qualified subordinates to the scene of the fire for consultation, and assist in the extinguishing of the fire and the protection of exposed persons. In the event of a difference of opinion as to measures required, the decision of the Chief or his designated subordinate shall be final, but must be given to the operator in writing to have the force of an order.

Code 1950, § 45-14.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1978, c. 118; 1984, c. 590; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.267. Fire precautions.

A. An examination for fire shall be made after every blasting operation.

B. No person shall smoke or use an open flame within twenty-five feet of locations used to handle or store flammable or combustible liquids or where an arc or flame may cause a fire or explosion.

C. Areas surrounding flammable liquid storage tanks, electrical substations and transformers shall be kept free of combustible material for at least twenty-five feet in all directions. Such storage tanks, substations and transformers shall be posted with readily visible fire hazard warning signs.

D. Structures or areas used for storage of flammable materials shall be constructed of fire resistant material, well ventilated, kept clean and orderly and posted with readily visible fire hazard warning signs.

E. Fuel lines shall be equipped with shut-off valves at the sources. Such valves shall be readily accessible and maintained in good operating condition.

F. Battery charging areas shall be well ventilated and posted with warning signs prohibiting smoking or open flames within twenty-five feet.

G. Oil, grease, other flammable hydraulic fluid, and other flammable materials shall be kept in closed metal containers and separated from other materials so as to not create a fire hazard.

H. Combustible materials, grease, lubricants, paints and other flammable materials and liquids shall not be allowed to accumulate where they could create a fire hazard. Provision shall be made to prevent the accumulation of such material on any equipment, at storage areas and any location where the material is used.

I. Electric motors, switches, lighting fixtures, and controls shall be protected by dust-tight construction.

J. Precautions shall be taken to ensure that sparks or other hot materials do not result in a fire when welding or cutting. Welding or cutting with arc or flame shall not be done in excessively dusty atmospheres or locations. Fire-fighting apparatus shall be readily available when welding or cutting is performed.

K. Precautions shall be taken before applying heat, cutting or welding on any pipe or container that has contained a flammable or combustible material.

L. Oxygen and acetylene bottles shall be stored in racks designated and constructed for the storage of such bottles with caps in place and secured when not in use. Such bottles shall not be stored near oil, grease, and other flammable material.

M. Oxygen and acetylene gauges and regulators shall be kept clean and free of oil, grease, and other combustible materials.

N. Belt conveyors shall be equipped with control switches to automatically stop the driving motor of the conveyor in the event the belt is stopped by slipping on the driving pulley, by breakage or other accident.

O. Areas surrounding main fan installations and other mine openings shall be kept free from grass, weeds, underbrush and other combustible materials for twenty-five feet in all directions.

P. Internal combustion engines, except diesel engines, shall be shut off prior to fueling.

Code 1950, § 45-85.9; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-39; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.268. Haulage and mobile equipment; operating condition.

A. All mobile equipment shall be maintained in a safe operating condition.

B. Positive-acting stopblocks shall be used where necessary to protect persons from danger of moving or runaway haulage equipment.

C. Where it is necessary for men to cross conveyors regularly, suitable crossing facilities shall be provided.

D. Persons shall not get on or off moving equipment.

E. When the equipment operator is present, persons shall notify him before getting on or off mobile equipment.

F. Mobile equipment shall not be left unattended unless brakes are set. Mobile equipment with wheels or tracks, when parked on a grade, shall either be blocked or turned into a bank unless the lowering of the bucket or blade to the ground will prevent movement.

G. Persons shall not work on or from a piece of mobile equipment in a raised position unless the equipment is specifically designed to lift persons.

H. Water, debris or spilled materials which may create hazards to moving equipment shall be removed.

I. Where seating facilities are provided on self-propelled mobile equipment, the operator shall be seated before such equipment is moved. No person shall be allowed to ride on top of self-propelled mobile equipment.

J. Operators of self-propelled haulage equipment shall sound a warning before starting such equipment and as approaching any place where persons are or are likely to be.

K. Each man-trip shall be under the charge of an authorized person, and operated independently.

L. Operator provided man-trips shall be maintained in safe operating condition, and enough of them shall be provided to prevent their being overloaded.

M. Employees shall not board or leave moving man-trips; they shall remain seated while in moving cars, and shall proceed in an orderly manner to and from man-trips.

Code 1950, §§ 45-69.1 to 45-69.3, 45-69.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-71 to 45.1-74; 1979, c. 315; 1983, c. 70; 1985, cc. 296, 302; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.269. Equipment operation.

A. Equipment operating speeds, conditions and characteristics shall be prudent and consistent with conditions of roadway, grades, clearance, visibility, traffic, type and use of equipment.

B. Vehicles shall follow at a safe distance; passing shall be limited to areas of adequate clearance and visibility.

C. Mobile equipment shall be operated under power control at all times and mobile equipment operators shall have full control of the equipment while in motion.

D. Before starting or moving equipment, an equipment operator must be certain by signal or other means that all persons are clear.

1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.270. Safety measures on equipment.

A. Rubber tired or crawler mounted equipment shall have rollover protective structures to the extent required by 30 CFR 77.403a .

B. Seat belts provided in mobile equipment shall be maintained in safe working condition. Operators of such equipment shall wear seat belts when the equipment is in motion.

C. Mobile equipment shall be equipped with adequate brakes and parking brakes.

D. Cab windows shall be of safety design, kept in good condition and clean for adequate visibility.

E. Tires shall be deflated before repairs on them are started and adequate means shall be provided to prevent wheel locking rims from creating a hazard during tire inflation.

F. An audible warning device and headlights shall be provided on all self-propelled mobile equipment.

G. An automatic backup alarm, that is audible above surrounding noise levels, shall be provided on all mobile equipment. An automatic reverse-activated strobe light may be substituted for an audible alarm when mobile equipment is operated at night.

H. All equipment raised for repairs or other work shall be securely blocked prior to persons positioning themselves where the falling of such equipment could create a hazardous condition.

Code 1950, § 45-69.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-73; 1979, c. 315; 1983, c. 70; 1985, c. 302; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.271. Transportation of personnel.

No person shall be permitted to ride or be otherwise transported on or in: (i) dippers, shovels, buckets, forks and clamshells, (ii) the cargo space of dump trucks, (iii) outside cabs or beds of heavy equipment, or (iv) chain, belt or bucket conveyors unless specifically designed to transport persons.

1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.272. Lighting.

A. Lights shall be provided as needed, in or on surface structures.

B. Roads, paths and walks outside of surface structures shall be kept free from obstructions and shall be well illuminated if used at night.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-38; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.273. Shop and other equipment.

A. The following shall be guarded and maintained adequately:

1. Gears, sprockets, pulleys, fan blades or propellers, friction devices and couplings with protruding bolts or nuts.

2. Shafting and projecting shaft ends that are within seven feet of floor or platform level.

3. Belt, chain or rope drives that are within seven feet of floor or platform.

4. Fly wheels. Where fly wheels extend more than seven feet above the floor, they shall be guarded to a height of at least seven feet.

5. Circular and band saws and planers.

6. Repair pits. Guards shall be kept in place when the pits are not in use.

7. Counterweights.

8. Mine fans. The approach shall be guarded.

9. Lighting and other electrical equipment that may cause shock hazards or personal injury.

B. Machinery shall not be repaired or oiled while in motion; provided, however, that this shall not apply where safe remote oiling devices are used.

C. A guard or safety device removed from any machine shall be replaced before the machine is put in operation.

D. Mechanically operated grinding wheels shall be equipped with:

1. Safety washers and tool rests.

2. Substantial retaining hoods, the hood opening of which shall not expose more than a 90 degree sector of the wheel. Such hoods shall include a device to control and collect excess rock, metal or dust particles, or equivalent protection shall be provided to the employees operating such machinery.

3. Eyeshields, unless goggles are worn by the operators.

E. The operator or his agent shall develop procedures for examining for potential hazards, completing proper maintenance, and properly operating each type of centrifugal pump. The procedures shall, at a minimum, address the manufacturers' recommendations for start-up and shutdown of the pumps, proper actions to be taken when a pump is suspected of overheating, safe location of start and stop switches, and actions to be taken when signs of structural metal fatigue such as cracks in the frame, damaged cover mounting brackets, or missing bolts or other components are detected. All miners who repair, maintain, or operate such pumps shall be trained in these procedures.

Code 1950, § 45-85.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-88; 1978, c. 118; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.274. Hydraulic hoses.

All hydraulic hoses used on equipment purchased after January 1, 1986, shall be clearly stamped or labeled by the hydraulic hose manufacturer to indicate the manufacturer's rated pressure in pounds per square inch (psi). For hoses purchased after January 1, 1989, the rated pressure shall be permanently affixed on the outer surface of the hose and repeated at least every two feet. Hoses purchased and installed on automatic displacement hydraulic systems shall have a four-to-one safety factor based on the ratio between minimum burst pressure and the setting of the hydraulic unloading system (such as a relief valve) or shall meet the minimum hose pressure requirements set by the hydraulic equipment manufacturer per the applicable hose standards for each type of equipment. No hydraulic hose shall be used in an application where the hydraulic unloading system is set higher than the hose's rated pressure.

1985, c. 612, § 45.1-88.1; 1988, c. 301; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.275. Stairways, platforms, runways and floor openings.

A. Stairways, platforms, and runways shall be provided where men work or travel.

B. Stairways, elevated platforms, floor openings and elevated runways shall be equipped with suitable handrails or guardrails.

C. Elevated platforms, floor openings, stairways and runways shall be provided with toe boards. Platforms, stairways and runways shall be kept clear of stumbling and slipping hazards and maintained in good repair.

Code 1950, § 45-85.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-36; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.276. Loading and haulage work area requirements.

A. Ramps and dumps shall be of solid construction, ample width, ample clearance and head room and shall be kept reasonably free of spillage.

B. Berms or guards shall be provided on the outer bank of elevated haulage roads. Berms constructed on or after July 1, 2005, shall be constructed of substantial material to the mid-axle height of the largest vehicle regularly used on the haulage road. The width and height of the berm shall be constructed on a two-to-one ratio when constructed of unconsolidated material. Other no-less effective methods may be used for berms.

C. Berms, bumper blocks, safety hooks or similar means shall be provided to prevent overtravel and overturning at dump stations.

D. Dumping locations and haulage roads shall be kept reasonably free of water, debris and spillage. Water, debris or spilled material that creates hazards to moving equipment shall be removed.

E. Haulage roads constructed on or after July 1, 2005, shall be constructed at least one and one-half times the width of the widest equipment in use, and those haulage roads used for passing shall be constructed at least three times the width of the widest equipment in use. In areas where this may not be possible, the foreman shall establish procedures for safe travel of haulage vehicles.

F. Traffic rules, signals, and warning signs shall be standardized at each mine and posted. This shall include, but not be limited to, rules for the travel of on-road vehicles operating near off-road haulers in work areas.

G. Dumping stations where material is dumped over an embankment shall be designed to minimize backing and, where conditions permit, to provide for perpendicular travel to allow the equipment operator to observe the dumping station for changing conditions prior to backing. Reflectorized signs, strobe lights, or other available means shall be used to clearly indicate dumping locations. This subsection shall not apply to dumping stations (i) that are moved after each dumped load as mining progresses, (ii) where spotters are being used, or (iii) where loads are dumped short and pushed over the embankment. Dump stations that may interfere with haulroads or work areas below shall be clearly marked with signs to prevent further dumping, unless other effective precautions are taken to protect haulroads or work areas below the dump station.

Code 1950, § 45-85.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-36; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2010, cc. 809, 857.

§ 45.1-161.277. Equipment operation.

A. If truck spotters are used, they shall be well in the clear while trucks are backing into dumping position and dumping. Truck spotters shall use lights at night to direct backing and dumping operations.

B. Dippers, buckets, scraper blades and similar movable parts shall be secured or lowered to the ground when not in use.

C. Equipment which is to be hauled shall be loaded and protected so as to prevent sliding or spillage. When moving between work areas the equipment shall be secured in the travel position.

D. Tow bars shall be used to tow heavy equipment and a safety chain shall be used in conjunction with each tow bar.

E. Dust control measures shall be taken so as to not obstruct visibility of equipment operators.

F. Dippers, buckets, loading booms, or other heavy loads shall not be swung over cabs of haulage equipment until the driver is out of the cab and is in a safe location unless the equipment is designed specifically to protect drivers from falling material.

G. Lights, flares, or other warning devices shall be posted when parked equipment creates a hazard for other vehicles.

1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.278. Control of dust and combustible material.

A. Where mining operations raise an excessive amount of dust into the air, water or water with wetting agent added to it or other effective methods shall be used to allay such dust at its sources.

B. Drilling in rock shall be done wet, or other means of dust control shall be used.

C. Loose coal, coal dust, oil, grease, and other combustible materials shall not be permitted to accumulate excessively on equipment or surface structures.

Code 1950, §§ 45-77.1, 45-85.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-66, 45.1-87; 1979, c. 315; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.279. Overhead high-potential power lines; surface transmission lines; electric wiring in surface buildings.

A. Overhead high-potential power lines shall be placed at least fifteen feet above the ground and twenty feet above driveways and haulage roads, shall be installed on insulators, and shall be supported and guarded to prevent contact with other circuits.

B. Surface transmission lines shall be protected against short circuits and lightning.

C. Electric wiring in surface buildings shall be installed so as to prevent fire and contact hazards.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-75; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.280. Transformers.

A. Unless surface transformers are isolated by elevation (eight feet or more above the ground), they shall be enclosed in a transformer house or surrounded by a suitable fence at least six feet high. If the enclosure or fence is of metal, it shall be grounded effectively. The gate or door to the enclosure shall be kept locked at all times, unless authorized persons are present.

B. Surface transformers containing flammable oil and installed where they present a fire hazard shall be provided with means to drain or to confine the oil in the event of rupture of the transformer casing.

C. Suitable danger signs shall be posted conspicuously at all transformer stations on the surface.

D. All transformer stations on the surface shall be kept free of nonessential combustible materials and refuse.

E. No electrical work shall be performed on low-voltage, medium-voltage, or high-voltage distribution circuits or equipment, except by a certified person or by a person trained to perform electrical work and to maintain electrical equipment under the direct supervision of a certified person. All high-voltage circuits shall be grounded before repair work is performed. Disconnecting devices shall be locked out and suitably tagged by the persons who perform electrical or mechanical work on such circuits or equipment connected to the circuits, except that in cases where locking out is not possible, such devices shall be opened and suitably tagged by such persons. Locks and tags shall be removed only by the persons who installed them or, if such persons are unavailable, by certified persons authorized by the operator or his agent. However, employees may, where necessary, repair energized trolley wires if they wear insulated shoes and lineman's gloves. This section does not prohibit certified electrical repairmen from making checks on or troubleshooting energized circuits or the performance of repairs or maintenance on equipment by authorized persons once the power is off and the equipment is blocked against motion, except where motion is necessary to make adjustments.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82 to 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-76, 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.281. Grounding.

A. All metallic sheaths, armors, and conduits enclosing power conductors shall be electrically continuous throughout and shall be grounded effectively.

B. Metallic frames, casing, and other enclosures of stationary electric equipment that can become "alive" through failure of insulation or by contact with energized parts shall be grounded effectively or equivalent protection shall be provided.

C. When electric equipment is operated from three-phase alternating current circuits originating in transformers connected to provide a neutral point, a continuous grounding conductor of adequate size shall be installed and connected to the neutral point and to the frames of the power-utilizing equipment. Such grounding conductors shall be grounded at the neutral point and at intervals along the conductor if feasible. A suitable circuit breaker or switching device shall be provided having a ground-trip coil connected in series with the grounding conductor to provide effective ground-fault tripping.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-79; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.282. Circuit breakers and switches.

A. Automatic circuit breaking devices or fuses of the correct type and capacity shall be installed so as to protect all electric equipment and power circuits against excessive overload. Wires or other conducting materials shall not be used as a substitute for properly designed fuses, and circuit breaking devices shall be maintained in safe operating condition.

B. Operating controls, such as switches, starters, and switch buttons, shall be so installed that they are readily accessible and can be operated without danger of contact with moving or live parts.

C. Electric equipment and circuits shall be provided with switches or other controls of safe design, construction and installation.

D. Insulating mats or other electrically nonconductive material shall be kept in place at each power-control switch and at stationary machinery where shock hazards exist.

E. Suitable danger signs shall be posted conspicuously at all high-voltage installations.

F. All power wires and cables shall have adequate current-carrying capacity, shall be guarded from mechanical injury and installed in a permanent manner.

G. Power circuits shall be labeled to indicate the unit or circuit they control.

H. Persons shall stay clear of an electrically powered shovel or other similar heavy equipment during an electrical storm.

I. All devices installed on or after July 1, 2005, which provide either short circuit protection or protection against overload, shall conform to the minimum requirements for protection of electric circuits and equipment of the National Electric Code in effect at the time of their installation.

J. All electric conductors installed on or after July 1, 2005, shall be sufficient in size to meet the minimum current-carrying capacity provided for in the National Electric Code in effect at the time of their installation.

K. All trailing cables purchased on or after July 1, 2005, shall meet the minimum requirements for ampacity provided in the standards of the Insulated Power Cable Engineers Association -- National Electric Manufacturers Association in effect at the time such cables are purchased.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.1, 45-82.3, 45-82.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-78, 45.1-80, 45.1-81; 1978, c. 118; 1979, c. 315; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.283. Electrical trailing cables.

A. Trailing cables shall be provided with suitable short-circuit protection and means of disconnecting power from the cable.

B. Temporary splices in trailing cables shall be made in a workmanlike manner, mechanically strong, and well insulated.

C. The number of temporary, unvulcanized splices in a trailing cable shall be limited to one.

D. Permanent splices in trailing cables shall be made as follows:

1. Mechanically strong with adequate electrical conductivity and flexibility.

2. Effectively insulated and sealed so as to exclude moisture.

3. The finished splice shall be vulcanized or otherwise treated with suitable materials to provide flame-resistant properties and good bonding to the outer jacket.

E. Trailing cables shall be protected against mechanical injury.

Code 1950, § 45-82.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-84; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.284. Surface storage of explosives and detonators.

A. Separate surface magazines shall be provided for the storage of explosives and detonators.

B. Surface magazines for storing and distributing explosives in amounts exceeding 150 pounds shall be:

1. Reasonably bulletproof and constructed of incombustible material or covered with fire-resistive material. The roofs of magazines so located that it is impossible to fire bullets directly through the roof from the ground, need not be bulletproof, but where it is possible to fire bullets directly through them, roofs shall be made bullet-resistant by material construction, or by a ceiling that forms a tray containing not less than a four-inch thickness of sand, or by other methods;

2. Provided with doors constructed of three-eighth inch steel plate lined with a two-inch thickness of wood, or the equivalent;

3. Provided with dry floors made of wood or other nonsparking material and have no metal exposed inside the magazine;

4. Provided with suitable warning signs so located that a bullet passing directly through the face of a sign will not strike the magazine;

5. Provided with properly screened ventilators;

6. Equipped with no openings except for entrance and ventilation;

7. Kept locked securely when unattended; and

8. Electrically bonded and grounded, if constructed of metal.

C. Surface magazines for storing detonators need not be bulletproof, but they shall be in accordance with other provisions for storing explosives.

D. Explosives in amounts of 150 pounds or less or 5,000 detonators or less shall be stored in accordance with the preceding standards or in separate locked box-type magazines. Box-type magazines may also be used as distributing magazines when quantities do not exceed those mentioned. Box-type magazines shall be constructed strongly of two-inch hardwood or the equivalent. Metal magazines shall be lined with nonsparking material. No magazine shall be placed in a building containing oil, grease, gasoline, wastepaper or other highly flammable material; nor shall a magazine be placed within twenty feet of a stove, furnace, open fire or flame.

E. The location of magazines shall be not less than 300 feet from any mine opening. However, in the event that a magazine cannot be practicably located at such a distance, the magazine may be located less than 300 feet from a mine opening, if it is sufficiently barricaded and approved by the Chief. Unless approved by the Chief, magazines shall not be located closer to occupied buildings, public roads, or passenger railways than allowed in the "American Table of Distances for Storage of Explosive Materials" published by the Institute of Makers of Explosives.

F. The supply kept in distribution magazines shall be limited to approximately a forty-eight hour supply, and such supplies of explosives and detonators may be distributed from the same magazine, if separated by at least a four-inch substantially fastened hardwood partition or the equivalent.

G. The area surrounding magazines for not less than twenty-five feet in all directions shall be kept free of rubbish, dry grass or other materials of a combustible nature.

H. If the explosives magazine is illuminated electrically, the lamps shall be of vapor-proof type, installed and wired so as to present minimum fire and contact hazards.

I. Only nonmetallic tools shall be used for opening wooden containers. Extraneous materials shall not be stored in an explosives or detonator magazine.

J. Smoking, carrying smokers' articles or open flames shall be prohibited in or near any magazine.

Code 1950, § 45-53.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-44; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 2010, cc. 809, 857.

§ 45.1-161.285. Misfires.

A. Misfires shall be reported promptly to the mine foreman and no other work shall be performed in the blasting area until the hazard has been corrected. A waiting period of at least fifteen minutes shall elapse before anyone returns to the misfired holes. If explosives are suspected of burning in a hole, all persons affected shall move to a safe location for the longer of one hour or until the danger has passed. When such failure involves electronic detonators, the blasting cable shall be disconnected from the source of power and the battery ends short-circuited before electric connections are examined.

B. Explosives shall be removed by firing a separate charge at least two feet away from, and parallel to, the misfired charge or by washing the stemming and the charge from the borehole with water, or by inserting and firing a new primer after the stemming has been washed out.

C. A very careful search of the blasting area, and if necessary, of the coal after it reaches the tipple shall be made after blasting a misfired hole to recover any undetonated explosive.

D. The handling of a misfired shot shall be under the direct supervision of the foreman or an authorized person designated by him.

Code 1950, § 45-53.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-50; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.286. Minimum blasting practices.

A. When explosives are in use on the surface and an electrical storm approaches, all persons shall be removed from such blast area until the storm has passed.

B. In accordance with the standards set forth in § 45.1-161.255 the Chief shall promulgate regulations regarding the safe storage, transportation, handling, and use of blasting agents and other explosives.

Code 1950, §§ 45-53.1, 45-53.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-48, 45.1-53.1; 1978, c. 729; 1981, c. 179; 1984, c. 229; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.287. Ground control.

A. All surface coal mining operations shall establish and follow a ground control plan approved by the Chief to ensure the safety of workers and others affected by the operations. The ground control plan shall be consistent with prudent engineering design. Mining methods shall ensure wall and bank stability, including benching, to obtain a safe overall slope. The ground control plan shall also ensure the safety of persons (i) in residences or other occupied buildings, (ii) working or traveling on any roadway, and (iii) in any other area where persons congregate, work, or travel that may be affected by blasting or falling, sliding, or other uncontrolled movement of material. The plan shall identify how residents or occupants of other buildings located down the slope from active workings will be notified when ground disturbing activities will take place above them and what actions will be taken to protect such residents or occupants from ground control failures during the work.

B. Scaling and removal of loose hazardous material from the tops of pits and highwalls, banks, walls and benches shall be completed to assure a safe work area.

C. Employees and other persons, except those involved in correction of the condition, shall be restricted from areas where hazardous highwall or pit conditions exist.

D. Unless required for the purpose of repairs, all persons shall be restricted from areas between equipment and walls, benches, or banks if the equipment may hinder their escape from falling or sliding material. Special precautions shall be taken when persons are required to perform such repairs.

1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.288. Inspection of electric equipment and wiring; checking and testing methane monitors.

Electric equipment and wiring that extend to underground areas shall be inspected by a certified person at least once a week and more often if necessary to assure safe operating conditions, and any hazardous condition found shall be corrected or the equipment or wiring shall be removed from service. This surface inspection is required for trailing cables and circuit breakers used in conjunction with such equipment and wiring.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-85; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.289. Highwall inspections.

A. The face of all highwalls, for a distance of 25 feet in both directions from an auger or highwall miner operation, shall be inspected by a mine foreman before any such operation begins and at least once during each coal producing shift.

B. Mine foreman shall examine the face of all highwalls for a distance of 25 feet in both directions from auger or highwall miner operations frequently during periods of heavy rainfall or intermittent freezing-thawing.

C. Hazardous conditions shall be corrected and loose material removed from above the mining area before any work is begun.

D. Records shall be kept of the inspection compiled pursuant to subsections A and B. Such records shall be maintained for one year.

1994, c. 28; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.290. Penetration of underground mines; testing.

A. A qualified person shall test for methane and deficiency of oxygen using an approved device at the entrance to an auger hole or highwall miner entry when either penetrates a worked-out area of an underground mine.

B. If one percent or more of methane is detected or 19.5 percent or less of oxygen is found to exist no further work shall be performed until the atmosphere has been made safe.

1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.291. Safety precautions.

A. No person shall enter an auger hole or highwall miner entry without prior approval from the Chief.

B. Auger holes and highwall miner entries shall be blocked with highwall spoil or other suitable material before abandoned.

C. Auger and highwall mining machines which are exposed to highwall and explosion hazards shall be provided with worker protection from falling material and mine explosions.

D. At least one person shall be assigned to observe the highwall for possible movement while ground personnel are working in high risk areas in close proximity to the highwall.

E. Persons shall stay clear of any moving auger or highwall miner train and no persons shall pass over or under a moving train unless adequate crossing facilities are provided.

F. The ground control plan shall specify spacing of holes, web design, and alignment control devices.

G. The ground control plan shall include other administrative, engineering, and source controls provided for safe operations.

1994, c. 28; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.292. Surface coal mining; distance from wells; requirements.

A. Any mine operator who plans to remove coal or extend any workings in any mine closer than 500 feet to any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled shall file with the Chief a notice that mining is taking place or will take place, together with a copy of parts of the maps and plans required under § 45.1-161.64 which show the mine workings and projected mine workings beneath the tract in question and within 500 feet of the well. Such mine operator shall simultaneously mail copies of such notice, maps and plans by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the well operator and the Gas and Oil Inspector. Each notice shall certify that the mine operator has complied with the provisions of this subsection.

B. Subsequent to the filing of the notice required by subsection A of this section, the mine operator may proceed with mining operations in accordance with the maps and plans; however, without the prior approval of the Chief, he shall not remove any coal or extend any workings in any mine closer than 200 feet to any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled. The Chief shall promulgate regulations which prescribe the procedure to be followed by mine operators in petitioning the Chief for approval to conduct such activities closer than 200 feet to a well. A petition may include a request to mine through a plugged well or plugged vertical ventilation hole. A petition may also include a request to mine through a well or vertical ventilation hole and lower the head of such well or vertical ventilation hole. Each mine operator who files a petition to remove coal or extend any workings closer than 200 feet to any gas or oil well shall mail copies of the petition, maps and plans by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the well operator and the Gas and Oil Inspector no later than the day of filing. The Gas and Oil Inspector and the well operator shall have standing to object to any petition filed under this section. Such objections shall be filed within ten days following the date such petition is filed.

1990, c. 92, § 45.1-92.1; 1994, c. 28.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

The Virginia General Assembly is offering access to the Code of Virginia on the Internet as a service to the public. We are unable to assist users of this service with legal questions nor respond to requests for legal advice or the application of the law to specific facts. Therefore, to understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.

The Code of Virginia online database excludes material copyrighted by the publisher, Michie, a division of Matthew Bender. Copyrighted material includes annotations and revisors' notes, which may be found in the print version of the Code of Virginia. Annotated print copies of the Code of Virginia are available in most Virginia public library systems, from LexisNexis (1-800-446-3410), and from West, a Thomson-Reuters business (1-800-344-5008).