Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
7/27/2017

Requirements Applicable to Underground Coal Mines

§ 45.1-161.105. Scope of chapter.

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

1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.106. Regulations governing conditions and practices at underground coal mines.

A. The Chief shall have authority, after consultation with the Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board and in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act, to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to ensure safe and healthy working conditions in underground coal mines in the Commonwealth. Such rules and regulations governing underground coal mines shall relate to:

1. The maintenance, operation, storage, and transportation of any mechanical or electrical equipment, device or machinery used for any purpose in the underground mining of coal;

2. 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 underground coal mining operations which shall include but not be limited to the control of dust concentration levels; use of respiratory equipment and ventilating systems; development and maintenance of roof control systems; handling of combustible materials and rock dusting; installation, maintenance and use of electrical devices, equipment, cables and wires; fire protection, including equipment, emergency evacuation plans, emergency shelters, and communication facilities; the use and storage of explosives; and the establishment and maintenance of barriers in underground mines around gas and oil wells. The Chief is authorized to promulgate regulations setting forth specific occupations and conditions for which a miner will be prohibited from working alone underground; and

3. The storage or disposal of any matter or materials extracted or disturbed as the result of an underground 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.

B. The Chief shall not promulgate any regulation establishing requirements for the operation of, or conditions at, an underground coal mine which are inconsistent with requirements established by the 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.

§ 45.1-161.107. Standards for regulations.

In promulgating rules and regulations pursuant to § 45.1-161.106, the Chief shall consider:

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

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

3. The federal mine safety law;

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 safety and health of miners and other persons or property likely to be endangered by underground 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.

§ 45.1-161.108. Roof, ribs and faces to be secure.

A. All underground active workings and travel ways shall be secured and controlled to protect miners from falls of roof, face or ribs. Loose roof and loose or overhanging ribs and faces shall be taken down or supported.

B. The method of mining followed shall not expose miners to hazardous conditions caused by excessive widths of rooms and entries, faulty pillar-recovery methods, or other hazardous mining methods or working conditions.

Code 1950, §§ 45-68.1 to 45-68.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-40, 45.1-41; 1975, c. 520; 1978, cc. 118, 729; 1980, c. 338; 1982, c. 234; 1984, c. 590; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.109. Roof control plans.

A. Each underground coal mine shall have a roof control plan approved by the Chief. Each plan shall include (i) a minimum standard for adequately controlling the roof, face, and ribs; (ii) a description of mining methods used; (iii) a listing and specification of roof and rib support materials; (iv) instruction for the installation of temporary and permanent roof supports; (v) a description of any pillar recovery methods; (vi) applicable drawings that demonstrate width of openings, roof support installation sequences, and pillar recovery sequences; and (vii) any additional requirements deemed necessary by the Chief. The initial submission of any roof control plan shall include maps of mine projections, overlying and underlying mine workings, coal contours, and surface contours. If changes are to be made in the mining system that necessitate any change in the roof control plan, the plan shall be revised and approved by the Chief prior to implementing the new mining system.

B. The Chief shall, where he deems necessary, prescribe adequate minimum standards for systematic support of mine roof, suitable to the roof conditions and mining system of each mine. Such standards shall be incorporated into an approved roof control plan for the mine. This section shall not apply to roof control systems installed prior to January 27, 1988, so long as the support system continues to effectively control the roof, face and ribs.

C. Failure to comply with the approved roof control plan for the mine shall constitute a violation of this section.

D. The approved roof control plan shall be posted conspicuously at the mine and a copy shall be available at each working section of the mine.

E. The minimum standards and plan shall provide for temporary support at all active workings, without regard to natural condition.

F. If the minimum standards do not afford adequate protection, such additional supports as shall be necessary shall be installed. Such additional supports shall be described in the plan.

Code 1950, § 45-68.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-40; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 729; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.110. Instruction of miners.

The operator, or his agent, shall instruct all miners in the removal and installation of temporary and permanent roof supports as may be required by the roof control plan.

Code 1950, § 45-68.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-40; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 729; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.111. Copies of plan.

The operator, or his agent, shall furnish to any miner engaged in removing or installing temporary or permanent roof supports, upon request, a copy of the roof control plan.

Code 1950, § 45-68.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-40; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 729; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28.

§§ 45.1-161.112, 45.1-161.113. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, c. 774, effective April 6, 1996.

§ 45.1-161.114. Automated temporary roof support systems.

The Chief shall promulgate regulations requiring automated temporary roof support systems for the installation of roof bolts.

Code 1950, §§ 45-68.1, 45-68.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-41; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 118; 1980, c. 338; 1982, c. 234; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.115. Supplies of materials for supports.

A. The operator, or his agent, shall provide at or near the working places an ample supply of suitable materials of proper size with which to secure all roofs, ribs and faces of working places in a safe manner. Suitable supply materials shall be provided for variations in seam height. If the operator, or his agent, fails to provide such suitable materials, the mine foreman shall cause the miners to withdraw from the mine, or the portion thereof affected, until such material or supplies are received.

B. Safety posts, jacks or temporary crossbars shall be set close to the face before other operations are begun and as needed thereafter, if miners go in by the last permanent roof support.

C. Unless an automated temporary roof support system is used, safety posts or jacks shall be used to protect the miners when roof material is being taken down, crossbars are being installed, roof bolt holes are being drilled, roof bolts are being installed, or when any other work is being performed that would reasonably require roof support to protect the miners involved.

D. The operator, or his agent, shall make immediately available for emergency use at each mine site at least two lifting devices with a combined total of at least 80 tons lifting capacity. Each individual lifting device shall have 20 tons or greater lifting capacity.

Code 1950, §§ 45-68.1, 45-68.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-41; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 118; 1980, c. 338; 1982, c. 234; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.116. Examination and testing of roof, face, and ribs.

A. The operator, or his agent, shall instruct all miners how to make visual examinations and sound and vibration testing of roof, face and ribs.

B. Miners exposed to danger from falls of roof, face, and ribs shall visually examine and, if conditions permit, test the roof, face, and ribs by sounding the roof before starting work or before starting a machine and as frequently thereafter as may be necessary to ensure safety. When hazardous conditions are found, miners discovering them shall correct such conditions immediately by taking down the loose material, by proper timbering, or installation of proper roof support before work is continued or any other work is done, or shall vacate the place.

C. At least once each shift, or more often if necessary, the mine foreman or other certified person shall examine and test the roof, face and ribs of all active working sections where coal is being produced while miners are working therein. Any place in which a hazardous condition is found by the mine foreman shall be made safe in his presence or under his direction, or the miners shall be withdrawn from such place. Such hazardous conditions and corrective actions taken shall be recorded in the on-shift record book at the mine.

Code 1950, §§ 45-61, 45-68.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-42; 1976, c. 598; 1978, c. 118; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.117. Mapping of roof falls.

Unplanned roof falls that are required to be reported in accordance with § 45.1-161.78 shall be marked on a map maintained at the mine to indicate the specific location of the fall.

Code 1950, §§ 45-61, 45-68.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-42; 1976, c. 598; 1978, c. 118; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.118. Unsafe conditions.

A. No person shall work or travel under unsupported roof except to install temporary supports in accordance with the approved roof control plan. Areas inby the breaker line where second mining has been or is being conducted shall be considered unsupported.

B. If roof, face, or rib conditions are found to be unsafe, no person shall start any other work until the conditions have been corrected by taking down loose material or securely supporting the roof, face, or ribs.

C. A bar of proper length shall be used to pull down any loose material discovered.

Code 1950, §§ 45-61, 45-68.1, 45-68.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-41, 45.1-42; 1975, c. 520; 1976, c. 598; 1978, c. 118; 1980, c. 338; 1982, c. 234; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.119. Removal of supports.

A. No person shall deliberately remove any support in active areas unless equivalent protection is provided.

B. Any person who accidentally knocks out or dislodges a support shall promptly replace the support.

Code 1950, §§ 45-68.1, 45-68.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-41; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 118; 1980, c. 338; 1982, c. 234; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.120. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2005, c. 3, cl. 2, effective February 10, 2005.

§ 45.1-161.121. Mining in proximity to gas and oil wells.

A. Except as provided in subsection D, an operator who plans to remove coal, drive any passage or entry, or extend any workings in any mine, within 500 feet of any gas or oil well already drilled into the projected mine workings or in the process of being drilled into the projected mine workings shall file with the Chief a notice that mining is taking place or will take place. The notice shall include a copy of parts of the maps and plans required under § 45.1-161.64 which show the mine workings and projected mine workings which are within 500 feet of the well. The 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 contain a certification made by the operator that he has complied with the provisions of this subsection.

B. Subsequent to the filing of the notice required by subsection A, the 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, drive any entry, or extend any workings in any mine closer than 200 feet to any gas or oil well already drilled into the projected mine workings or in the process of being drilled into the projected mine workings.

C. 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 within 200 feet of a gas or oil well or a vertical ventilation hole drilled or in the process of being drilled into the projected mine workings. Each operator who files such a petition 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 operator of the gas or oil well or vertical ventilation hole 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.

D. Procedures for safely mining in proximity to or through coalbed methane wells or vertical ventilation holes developed for methane drainage in a mine shall be addressed in the bleeder system plan for that mine required by § 45.1-161.220.

1990, c. 92, § 45.1-92.1; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.122. Mining in proximity to abandoned areas.

A. The mine foreman shall ensure that boreholes are drilled in each advancing working place that is (i) within 50 feet of abandoned areas in the mine as shown by surveys made and certified by a registered engineer or surveyor, (ii) within 200 feet of abandoned areas in the mine which have not been certified as surveyed or, (iii) within 200 feet of any mine workings of an adjacent mine located in the same coal bed unless the adjacent area of the mine has been pre-shift examined. The boreholes shall be at least 20 feet in depth and always maintained not less than 10 feet in advance of the face, and not more than eight feet apart unless approved by the Chief. One borehole shall also be drilled for each cut on sides of the active workings that are being driven toward, and in proximity to, an abandoned mine or part of a mine which may contain flammable gas or which is filled with water.

B. Sufficient holes shall be drilled through to accurately determine whether hazardous quantities of methane, carbon dioxide and other gases or water are present in the abandoned area. Materials shall be available to plug such holes to prevent an inundation of hazardous quantities of gases or water if detected.

C. Mining shall not advance into any abandoned area penetrated by boreholes drilled in accordance with subsection A until a plan has been submitted and approved by the Chief. The plan will include at a minimum: (i) procedures for testing the atmosphere at the back of boreholes drilled into the abandoned area; (ii) the method of ventilation, ventilation controls, and the air quantities and velocities in the affected working section and working place; (iii) procedures for mining-through when hazardous quantities of methane, carbon dioxide, or other hazardous gases cannot be removed; (iv) dewatering procedures to be used if a penetrated area contains hazardous water accumulation; and (v) the procedures and precautions to be followed during mining-through operation. A copy of the plan shall be made available near the site of the penetration operation and the operator shall review the plan with all miners involved in the operation. Failure to comply with the approved plan shall constitute a violation of this section.

D. Any operator, his agent, mine foreman or miner engaged in drilling or mining into inaccessible abandoned areas shall have upon his person a self-contained self-rescuer.

E. Whenever a mine or section of a mine advances under any body of water that is sufficiently large or in close proximity as to constitute a hazard to miners, the operator shall submit to the Chief a plan meeting the requirements of 30 C.F.R. § 75.1716. The operator shall obtain approval for the submitted plan from the Chief prior to advancing the mine or any section of the mine under the body of water.

F. Prior to penetrating any portion of an active mine with a borehole, ventilation hole, or other hole drilled from the surface or overlying or underlying mines or drilling from the active mine, the operator shall submit a plan to the Chief addressing: (i) the purpose of the hole, (ii) information about abandoned mines that the hole may penetrate, (iii) procedures for withdrawal or limiting the number of miners from the mine or affected area during penetration, (iv) casing details and procedures to prevent water inflow and air transfer from the hole into the active mine, (v) procedures for grouting or sealing the hole when it is no longer used, and (vi) such other information as the Chief may require. The drilling of such hole shall not begin until the plan is approved by the Chief. The provisions of this section shall not apply to gas wells, coalbed methane wells, or vertical ventilation holes.

Code 1950, § 45-38; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-93; 1979, c. 56; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.123. Face and other equipment.

A. The cutter chains of mining machines shall be locked securely by mechanical means or electrical interlocks, while such machines are parked or being trammed.

B. Drilling in rock shall be conducted wet or by other means of dust control.

C. Electric drills or other electrically operated rotating tools intended to be held in the hands shall have the electric switch constructed so as to break the circuit when the hand releases the switch, or shall be equipped with properly adjusted friction or safety clutches.

D. While equipment is in operation or is being trammed, no miner shall position himself or be placed in a pinch point between such equipment and the face or ribs of the mine or another piece of equipment in the mine.

E. 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, § 45-85.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-87; 1979, c. 315; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.124. Shop and other equipment.

A. The following items of shop and other equipment 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 the floor or platform;

4. Fly wheels, provided that fly wheels extending more than seven feet above the floor shall be guarded to a height of at least seven feet;

5. Circular and band saws and planers;

6. Repair pits, provided that guards shall be kept in place when the pits are not in use;

7. Counterweights; and

8. The approach to mine fans shall be guarded.

B. Machinery shall not be repaired or serviced while the machinery is in motion; however, this shall not apply where safe remote 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 (i) safety washers and tool rests; (ii) substantial retaining hoods, the hood opening of which shall not expose more than a 90 degree sector of the wheel; and (iii) eyeshields, unless goggles are worn by the miners. Retaining hoods shall include either a device to control and collect excess rock, metal or dust particles, or a device providing equivalent protection to the miners operating such machinery.

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 manufacturer's 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; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.125. 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.

§ 45.1-161.126. Surface storage of explosives.

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 conform to the other provisions of subsection B regarding the storage of explosives.

D. Explosives in amounts of 150 pounds or less or 5,000 detonators or less shall be stored in accordance with 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 20 feet of a stove, furnace, open fire or flame.

E. Magazines shall be located not less than 300 feet from any mine opening. However, in the event that a magazine cannot be practicably located at such a distance, a magazine may be located less than 300 feet from any 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."

F. The supply kept in distribution magazines shall be limited to approximately a 48-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 equivalent barrier.

G. The area surrounding magazines for not less than 25 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, vapor-proof lamps shall be installed and wired so as to present minimum fire and contact hazards.

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

Code 1950, § 45-53.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-44; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.127. Underground transportation of explosives.

A. Explosives or detonators carried anywhere underground by any person shall be in individual containers. Such containers shall be constructed substantially of nonconductive material, maintained in good condition, and kept closed.

B. Explosives or detonators transported underground in cars moved by means of a locomotive or rope, or in shuttle cars, shall be in substantially covered cars or in special substantially covered containers used specifically for transporting detonators or explosives, and only under the following conditions:

1. The bodies and covers of such cars and containers shall be constructed or lined with nonconductive material;

2. If explosives and detonators are hauled in the same explosive car or in the same special container, they shall be separated by at least a four-inch substantially fastened hardwood partition or equivalent barrier;

3. Explosives, detonators, or other blasting devices shall not be transported on the same trip with miners;

4. When explosives or detonators are transported in special cars or containers in cars, they shall be hauled in special trips not connected to any other trip; however, this shall not prohibit the use of such additional cars as needed to lower a rope trip, or to haul supplies including timbers. Materials so transported shall not project above the top of the car. In no case shall flammable materials such as oil or grease be hauled on the same trip with explosives; and

5. Explosives or detonators shall not be hauled into or out of a mine within five minutes preceding or following a man-trip or any other trip. If traveling against the air current, the man-trip shall precede the explosives trip; if traveling with the air current, the man-trip shall follow the explosives trip.

C. In low coal seams where it is impractical to comply with subsection B, explosives may be transported in the original and unopened case, or in suitable individual containers, to the underground distribution magazine.

D. Explosives and detonators shall be transported underground by belt only under the following conditions:

1. They shall be transported in the original and unopened case, in special closed cases constructed of nonconductive material, or in suitable individual containers;

2. Clearance requirements shall be the same as those for transporting miners on belts;

3. Suitable loading and unloading stations shall be provided; and

4. Stop controls shall be provided at loading and unloading points, and an authorized person shall supervise the loading and unloading of explosives and detonators.

E. Neither explosives nor detonators shall be transported on flight or shaking conveyors, scrapers, mechanical loading machines, locomotives, cutting machines, drill trucks, or any self-propelled mobile equipment; however, this shall not prohibit the transportation of explosives or detonators in special closed containers in shuttle cars or in equipment designed especially to transport such explosives or detonators.

Code 1950, § 45-53.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-46; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.128. Underground storage of explosives.

A. When supplies of explosives and detonators for use in one or more sections are stored underground, they shall be kept in section boxes or magazines of substantial construction with no metal exposed on the inside. Such boxes or magazines shall be located at least twenty-five feet from roadways and power wires, and in a reasonably dry, well rock-dusted location protected from falls of roof. In pitching beds, where it is not possible to comply with the location requirement, such boxes shall be placed in niches cut into the solid coal or rock.

B. When explosives or detonators are stored in the section, they shall be kept in separate boxes or magazines not less than twelve feet apart if feasible; if kept in the same box or magazine, they shall be separated by at least a four-inch substantially fastened hardwood partition or the equivalent. Not more than a forty-eight-hour supply of explosives or detonators shall be stored underground in such boxes or magazines.

C. Explosives and detonators, kept near the face for the use of workmen, shall be kept in separate individual closed containers, in niches in the rib, not less than twelve feet apart, at least fifty feet from the working place and out of the line of blast. Such containers shall be constructed of substantial material and maintained electrically nonconductive. Where it is physically impracticable to comply with such distance requirements, the explosives and detonator containers shall be stored in the safest available place not less than fifteen feet from any pipe, rail, conveyor, haulage road, or power line, not less than twelve feet apart, and at least fifty feet from the working face and out of line of blast.

D. Explosives and detonators shall be kept in their containers until immediately before use at the working faces.

Code 1950, § 45-53.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-47; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.129. Blasting practices; penalty.

A. All explosives shall be of the permissible type except where addressed in the plan for shaft and slope development required by § 45.1-161.250 B.

B. All explosives shall be used as follows:

1. Explosives shall be fired only with electric detonators of proper strength;

2. Explosives shall be fired with permissible shot-firing units, unless firing is done from the surface when all persons are out of the mine, or in accordance with a plan approved by the Chief;

3. Boreholes in coal shall not be drilled beyond the limits of the cut where the coal is cut nor into the roof or floor;

4. Boreholes shall be cleaned, and shall be checked to see that they are placed properly and are of correct depth in relation to the cut, before being charged;

5. All blasting charges in coal shall have a burden of at least eighteen inches in all directions if the height of the coal permits;

6. Boreholes shall be stemmed with at least twenty-four inches of incombustible material, or at least one-half of the length of the hole shall be stemmed if the hole is less than four feet in depth. The Chief may approve the use of other stemming devices;

7. Examinations for gas shall be made immediately before firing each shot or group of multiple shots, and after blasting is completed;

8. Shots shall not be fired in any place where a methane level of one percent or greater can be detected with a permissible methane detector;

9. Without approval, charges exceeding one and one-half pounds, but not exceeding three pounds, shall be used only if (i) boreholes are six feet or more in depth; (ii) the explosives are charged in a continuous train, with no cartridges deliberately deformed or crushed; (iii) all cartridges are in contact with each other, with the end cartridges touching the back of the hole and the stemming, respectively; and (iv) permissible explosives are used; however, the three-pound limit shall not apply to solid rock work;

10. Any solid shooting shall be done in compliance with conditions prescribed by the Chief;

11. Shots shall be fired by a certified underground shot firer;

12. Boreholes shall not be charged while any other work is being done at the face, and the shot or shots shall be fired before any other work is done in the zone of danger from blasting except that which is necessary to safeguard the miners;

13. Only nonmetallic tamping bars, including a nonmetallic tamping bar with a nonsparking metallic scraper on one end, shall be used for charging and tamping boreholes;

14. The leg wires of electric detonators shall be kept shunted until ready to connect to the firing cable;

15. The roof and faces of working places shall be tested before and after firing each shot or group of multiple shots;

16. Ample warning shall be given before shots are fired, and care shall be taken to ascertain that all miners are in the clear;

17. All miners shall be removed from the working place and the immediately adjoining working place or places to a distance of at least 100 feet and accounted for before shots are fired;

18. Mixed types or brands of explosives shall not be charged or fired in any borehole;

19. Adobe (mudcap) or other open, unconfined shots shall not be fired in any mine except those types approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Chief;

20. Power wires and cables that could contact blasting cables or leg wires shall be de-energized during charging and firing;

21. Firing shots from a properly installed and protected blasting circuit may be permitted by the Chief;

22. No miner shall return, or shall be allowed to return, to the working place after the firing of any shot or shots until the smoke has reasonably cleared away;

23. Before returning to work and beginning to load coal, slate or refuse, a miner shall make a careful examination of the condition of the roof and do what is necessary to make the working place safe; and

24. An examination for fire shall be made of the working area after any blasting.

C. It shall be unlawful for an operator, his agent, or mine foreman to cause or permit any solid shooting to be done without first having obtained a written permit from the Chief. It shall be unlawful for any miner to shoot coal from the solid without first obtaining permission to do so from the operator, his agent, or mine foreman. A violation of this subsection is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, §§ 45-53.1, 45-53.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-48; 1978, c. 729; 1981, c. 179; 1984, c. 229; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.130. Blasting cables.

Blasting cables shall be:

1. Well insulated and as long as may be necessary to permit the shot firer to get in a safe place around a corner;

2. Short-circuited at the battery end until ready to attach to the blasting unit;

3. Staggered as to length or the ends kept well separated when attached to the detonator leg wires; and

4. Kept clear of power wires and all other possible sources of active or stray electric currents.

Code 1950, § 45-53.6; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-49; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.131. Misfires.

A. Where misfires occur with electric detonators, a waiting period of at least fifteen minutes shall elapse before a miner shall be allowed to return to the shot area. After such failure, 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 working place, and, if necessary, of the coal shall be conducted after the coal reaches the tipple after blasting a misfired hole to recover any undetonated explosive.

D. The handling of a misfired shot shall be directly supervised by the mine foreman or a certified person designated by him.

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

§ 45.1-161.132. Explosives and blasting practices in shaft and slope operations.

A. Blasting areas in shaft or slope operations shall be covered with mats or materials when the excavations are too shallow to retain the blasted material.

B. If explosives are in the shaft or slope when an electrical storm approaches, all miners shall be removed from such working places until the storm has passed.

1978, c. 729, § 45.1-53.1; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.133. Haulage roads.

A. The roadbed, rails, joints, switches, frogs and other elements of the track of all haulage roads shall be constructed, installed and maintained in a manner that ensures their safe operation. In determining their safety, consideration shall be given to the speed of equipment, and type of haulage operations conducted on the haulage roads.

B. Haulage tracks shall be kept free of accumulations of coal spillage and debris and water shall not be allowed to accumulate over the top of the rail.

C. Off-track haulage equipment operators shall observe haulage roads for hazardous conditions during the course of travel and shall promptly correct or report to the mine foreman any hazardous condition observed.

D. Off-track haulage roads shall be maintained reasonably free of bottom irregularities, excess spillage, debris, wet or muddy conditions that make controlling off-track equipment difficult, and accumulations of water over such areas of haulage roads and in such depths that water could enter electrical panels and create potentially hazardous conditions.

E. Uninsulated trolley lines shall not be used or installed in underground coal mines without approval of the Chief.

Code 1950, § 45-69.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-70; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.134. Track switches and rails.

A. All track switches shall be provided with properly installed throws, latches, and bridle bars.

B. All track switches, other than those in rooms and in entry development, shall be equipped with properly installed guardrails.

C. All switch throws and stands shall be installed on the side of the track where clearance is provided.

D. Rails shall be secured at all joints by plates or welds.

Code 1950, §§ 45-69.1, 45-69.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-70, 45.1-73; 1979, c. 315; 1983, c. 70; 1985, c. 302; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.135. Clearance on haulage roads.

A. Track haulage roads in entries, rooms, and crosscuts shall have a continuous clearance on one side of at least 24 inches from the farthest projection of moving traffic. The clearance shall be kept free of any obstruction to a height permitted by the height of the coal seam. When not possible to maintain such clearance, close clearance signs shall be posted inby and outby the affected area.

B. Track haulage roads in entries, rooms, and crosscuts shall have a continuous clearance, on the side opposite the clearance required by subsection A, of at least six inches from the farthest projection of moving traffic. When not possible to maintain such clearance, close clearance signs shall be posted inby and outby the affected area.

C. Haulage roads where trolley lines are used shall have the clearance required by subsection A on the side of the track opposite the trolley lines. This requirement shall not apply where the trolley lines are 6 1/2 feet or more above the rail.

D. The clearance space on all track haulage roads shall be kept free of loose rock, loose coal, supplies, and other loose materials. If the clearance space exceeds 24 inches, not more than 24 inches of the clearance space shall be required to be kept free of such materials.

E. All parallel tracks shall be installed so as to provide a clearance of at least 24 inches between the outermost projections of passing traffic.

F. Ample clearance shall be provided (i) at conveyor loading heads, (ii) at conveyor control panels, and (iii) along conveyor lines.

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

Code 1950, §§ 45-14.1, 45-69.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-71, 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1978, c. 118; 1984, c. 590; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.136. Conveyor crossings.

Suitable facilities for crossing conveyors shall be provided where it is necessary for miners to cross conveyors regularly.

Code 1950, § 45-69.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-71; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.137. Shelter holes.

A. Track haulage roads shall have shelter holes at intervals not to exceed the interval permitted for crosscuts. Except at points where more than six feet of side clearance, measured from the rail, is maintained and at room switches, shelter holes shall be provided at manually operated doors and at switch throws.

B. Except for shelter holes at underground slope landings where men pass and cars are handled, (i) the depth of shelter holes shall not be less than five feet, (ii) the width of shelter holes shall not be greater than four feet unless a room neck or crosscut width exceeding four feet is used as a shelter hole, and (iii) height of shelter holes shall not be less than six feet or, if the height of the traveling space is less than six feet, as high as the traveling space.

C. Shelter holes at underground slope landings where men pass and cars are handled shall be at least (i) ten feet in depth, (ii) four feet in width, and (iii) six feet in height.

D. Shelter holes shall be kept free of refuse, loose roof, and other obstructions.

Code 1950, § 45-69.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-71; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.138. Refuge from moving traffic.

Upon the approach of moving traffic, miners not engaged in haulage operations shall take refuge in shelter holes or other places of safety.

Code 1950, § 45-69.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-71; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.139. Inspection of underground equipment.

Once a week or more often if necessary, the mine foreman or a certified person shall inspect electrical and diesel transportation equipment to assure its safe operating condition. Such equipment located on the surface shall be inspected as often as necessary but at least monthly. Such person shall correct any defect found during the inspection. A record of such examination shall be maintained.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-85; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.140. Maintenance of equipment.

Locomotives, mine cars, shuttle cars, supply cars, conveyors, self-propelled mobile equipment, and all other equipment shall be maintained in a safe operating condition.

Code 1950, § 45-69.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-72; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.141. Self-propelled equipment.

A. All self-propelled mobile transportation and haulage equipment for use underground shall be equipped with safe seating facilities for the person operating the equipment unless equipped for remote control operation. Where seating facilities are provided on self-propelled mobile equipment, the person operating such equipment shall be seated before the equipment is put into motion.

B. All track-mounted equipment shall be equipped with proper lifting devices, for the rerailing of such equipment.

C. An audible warning device and headlights shall be provided on each locomotive, shuttle car and any other self-propelled mobile transportation and haulage equipment.

D. A trip light capable of being seen for at least 300 feet underground shall be used on the rear of trips pulled and on the front of pushed trips and trips lowered in slopes; however, trip lights need not be used where locomotives are used on each end of a trip.

E. Effective means, including but not limited to trailing locomotives, slides, skids or drags shall be used during track haulage to ensure safe control is maintained when grades create a potential hazard.

F. Where block signals are used, procedures shall be established in writing to safely control traffic movement within the system and shall be posted and reviewed with all mine personnel.

Code 1950, §§ 45-69.1, 45-69.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-72, 45.1-73; 1979, c. 315; 1983, c. 70; 1985, c. 302; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.142. Pushing cars.

Pushing cars on main haulage roads shall be prohibited except (i) where necessary to push cars from sidetracks located near the working section to the producing entries and rooms, (ii) where necessary to clear switches and sidetracks, and (iii) on the approach to cages, slopes and surface inclines. However, where rail transportation systems are utilized and it becomes necessary to routinely push cars, the operator shall develop procedures for coordination and control of rail traffic, such as provisions of effective trip lights or other warning devices, and other safety precautions specific to the mine. These procedures shall be subject to approval of the Chief.

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.

§ 45.1-161.143. Transportation of material.

A. Equipment or material being transported shall be loaded in a manner to protect the operator and other personnel from sliding equipment or material.

B. Materials and supplies not necessary for the operation of self-propelled mobile equipment shall not be transported on such equipment, except for when the mobile equipment is designed to carry such materials or supplies and a hazard is not created. Only small hand tools and supplies which do not create hazards may be transported in the same compartment of personnel carriers where miners are seated.

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; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.144. Securing cars.

A. Standing cars on any track, unless held effectively by brakes, shall be properly blocked or spragged.

B. Positive-acting stopblocks or derails shall be used where necessary to protect miners from danger of runaway rail equipment. Derails shall be located where grades at the entrance and other locations in the mine create potential collision hazards.

C. Safety chains, steel ropes, or other effective devices capable of holding the load shall be used to prevent runaway man-trip or other supply cars.

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.

§ 45.1-161.145. Riding on cars.

A. No person other than the motorman and trip rider shall ride on a locomotive, unless authorized by the mine foreman.

B. No person shall ride on loaded cars or between cars of any trip.

C. No person shall get on or off moving locomotives or cars being moved by locomotives.

D. No person shall be allowed to ride on top of self-propelled mobile equipment.

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.

§ 45.1-161.146. Back-poling.

Back-poling shall be prohibited except (i) at places where the trolley pole cannot be reversed or (ii) when going up extremely steep grades. In all circumstances, back-poling shall occur only at very slow speed.

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.

§ 45.1-161.147. Operation of equipment.

A. Operators of self-propelled haulage equipment shall face in the direction of travel except when the equipment is being loaded and is under the boom of the loading equipment.

B. Track haulage cars which require coupling and uncoupling shall be equipped with automatic couplers or devices designed to allow coupling and uncoupling without exposing miners between equipment. Specialty cars designed with safe clearance when connecting to other cars are excluded from the provisions of this subsection.

C. Persons operating self-propelled haulage equipment shall sound a warning before starting such equipment and on approaching curves, sidetracks, doors, curtains, manway crossings, or any other place where persons are or are likely to be.

D. All rail equipment shall be operated at speeds which are safe for the condition of the rail installation, grades and clearances encountered. When rail equipment is being operated at normal safe speeds, a distance of 300 feet shall be maintained from the rear of other rail equipment in operation except trailing locomotives that are an integral part of the trip.

E. All persons shall stand in the clear during switching operations.

F. No two pieces of self-propelled mobile mining equipment traveling in opposite directions inside a coal mine shall be allowed to pass each other while both are in motion on the same haulage road unless a minimum of 24 inches is maintained between the vehicles.

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.

§ 45.1-161.148. Dispatchers.

Where a dispatcher is employed to control trips, traffic under his jurisdiction shall be moved only at his direction. The dispatcher shall be stationed on the surface at the mine.

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.

§ 45.1-161.149. Availability of man-trips.

The operator or his agent shall maintain a man-trip or other equipment suitable for providing reasonable access within a reasonable time to areas of the mine where miners are working and where transportation is ordinarily provided. The suitability of the equipment, and the reasonableness of the time required to reach such areas of the mine, shall be determined by the Chief.

1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.150. Man-trips.

A. Man-trips operated by means of locomotives shall be pulled and at safe speeds consistent with the condition of roads and type of equipment used, and shall be so controlled that they can be stopped within the limits of visibility.

B. Each man-trip shall be under the charge of an authorized person and shall be operated independently of any loaded trip.

C. Man-trips shall be maintained in safe operating condition, and in sufficient number to prevent becoming overloaded.

D. No person shall ride under a trolley wire other than in suitably covered man-cars. Covered man-cars shall not be required under trolley wires that are guarded or positioned in accordance with subsection F of § 45.1-161.187.

E. Other than small hand tools carried on the person, supplies or tools shall not be transported in the same car or cage with miners on any man-trip, except in special compartments in such cars.

F. Miners shall not board or leave moving man-trip cars. Miners shall remain seated while in moving cars, and shall proceed in an orderly manner to and from man-trips.

Code 1950, § 45-69.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-74; 1985, c. 296; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.151. Man-trip loading and unloading areas.

A. Areas used regularly for loading or unloading man-trips or man-cages shall be kept clear, free of obstructions, and with ample clearance for moving equipment. Miners shall remain in such area until the man-trip or man-cage is ready to load.

B. Trolley and power wires shall be guarded effectively at areas where persons regularly load or unload from man-trips or man-cages where there is a possibility of any person coming in contact with energized electric wiring while boarding or leaving the man-trip.

Code 1950, § 45-69.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-74; 1985, c. 296; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.152. Transporting miners by belts.

A. When belts are used for transporting miners, such belts shall be free of loose materials, and a minimum clearance of at least eighteen inches shall be maintained between the belt and the roof or crossbars, projecting equipment, cap pieces, overhead cables, wiring, and other objects. Belts used for transporting miners shall be equipped with emergency stop cords for their entire length.

B. The belt speed shall not exceed (i) 250 feet per minute while miners are being transported where the clearance between the belt and overhead roof or projections is between eighteen inches and twenty-four inches and (ii) 300 feet per minute where the overhead clearance is twenty-four inches or more. The use of conveyor belts to transport miners shall be prohibited if the clearance between the belt and overhead is less than eighteen inches. Such belt shall be stopped while miners are boarding or leaving.

C. The space between miners riding on a belt line shall be not less than five feet.

D. Adequate clearance and proper illumination shall be provided where miners board or leave conveyor belts.

Code 1950, § 45-69.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-74; 1985, c. 296; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.153. Hoisting equipment.

A. All hoists used for handling men shall be equipped with overspeed, overwind, and automatic stop controls.

B. All suspended work decks and platforms (i) shall operate automatically, (ii) shall be equipped with guardrails capable of protecting men and materials from accidental overturning, and (iii) shall be equipped with safety belts and such other protective devices as the Chief shall require by regulation.

C. Any platform or work deck used for transporting miners or materials shall be equipped with leveling indicators and such conveyance shall be maintained and operated in a reasonably level position at all times.

D. Slope, shaft, or surface incline hoists shall be equipped with brakes capable of stopping and holding the fully loaded unbalanced cage or trip at any point in the shaft or slope or on the incline.

E. An accurate and reliable indicator showing the position of the cage or trip shall be placed so as to be in clear view of the hoisting engineer, unless the position of the car or trip is clearly visible to the hoisting engineer or other person operating the equipment at all times.

F. Any conveyance used to haul miners or materials within a shaft or slope (i) shall be designed to prevent materials from falling back into the shaft or slope and (ii) shall be equipped with a retaining edge of not less than six inches to prevent objects from falling into the shaft or slope.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-68, 45.1-69; 1972, c. 784; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.154. Hoisting ropes.

A. Hoisting ropes on all cages or trips shall be adequate in size to handle the load and have a proper factor of safety. Ropes used to hoist or lower coal and other materials shall have a factor of safety of not less than five to one; ropes used to hoist or lower miners shall have a factor of safety of not less than 10 to one.

B. The hoisting rope shall have at least three full turns on the drum when extended to its maximum working length. The rope shall make at least one full turn on the drum shaft or around the spoke of the drum, in case of a free drum, and be fastened securely by means of clamps.

C. The hoisting rope shall be fastened to its load by a spelter-filled socket or by a thimble and adequate number of clamps properly spaced and installed.

D. Any cage, man-car, or trip used for hoisting or lowering men with a single rope shall be provided with two bridle chains or wire ropes connected securely to the rope at least three feet above the socket or thimble and to the crosspiece of the cage or to the man-car or trip. Multiple hoisting ropes installed according to subsection C may be used in lieu of two bridle chains.

E. When equipment or supplies are being hoisted or lowered in the slope, safety chains or wire ropes shall be provided and connected securely to the hoist rope. In addition, visible or audible warning devices shall be installed in the slope where they may be seen or heard by persons approaching the slope track entry from any access.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-68, 45.1-89.1; 1972, c. 784; 1978, c. 729; 1983, c. 111; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.155. Hoisting cages.

A. Cages used for hoisting miners shall be of substantial construction and shall have (i) adequate steel bonnets, with enclosed sides; (ii) gates, safety chains, or bars across the ends of the cage when men are being hoisted or lowered; and (iii) sufficient handholds or chains for all men on the cage to maintain their balance. A locking device to prevent tilting of the cage shall be used on all self-dumping cages when miners are transported thereon.

B. The floor of the cage shall be constructed so that it will be adequate to carry the load and so that it will be impossible for a miner's foot or body to enter any opening in the bottom of the cage.

C. Cages used for hoisting miners shall be equipped with safety catches that act quickly and effectively in case of an emergency. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to capsules or buckets used for emergency escape or used during slope or shaft sinking.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-69; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 1997, c. 293.

§ 45.1-161.156. Slope and shaft conditions.

A. All shafts shall be equipped with safety gates at the top and at each landing. Safety gates shall be kept closed except when the cage is being loaded or unloaded.

B. Positive-acting stopblocks or derails shall be installed near the top and at intermediate landings of slopes and surface inclines and at the approaches to all shaft landings.

C. Positive-acting stopblocks or derails shall be installed on the haulage track in the slope near the top of the slope. The stopblocks or derails shall be in a position to hold or stop any load, including heavy mining equipment, to be lowered into the mine until such time as the equipment is to be lowered into the mine by the hoist.

D. At the bottom of each hoisting shaft and at intermediate landings, a runaround shall be provided for safe passage from one side of the shaft to the other. This passageway shall be not less than five feet in height and three feet in width.

E. Ice shall not be permitted to accumulate excessively in any shaft where miners are hoisted or lowered.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-69, 45.1-89.1; 1978, c. 729; 1983, c. 111; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.157. Signaling; signal code.

A. Two independent means of signaling shall be provided between the top, bottom, and all intermediate landings of shafts, slopes, and surface inclines and the hoisting station. At least one of these means of signaling shall be audible to the hoisting engineer or other person operating the equipment. Bell cords shall be installed in shafts in such a manner as to prevent unnecessary movement of such cords within the shaft.

B. A uniform signal code approved by the Chief shall be in use at each mine and shall be at the cage station designated by the mine foreman.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-69; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.158. Inspections of hoisting equipment.

A. Before hoisting or lowering miners in a shaft, the hoisting engineer shall operate empty cages up and down each shaft at least one round trip at the beginning of each shift and after the hoist has been idle for one hour or more.

B. Before hoisting or lowering miners in slope and surface incline hoisting, the hoisting engineer shall operate empty cages at least one round trip at the beginning of each shift and after the hoist has been idle for one hour or more.

C. The hoisting engineer, at the time the inspections required by subsections A and B are performed, shall (i) inspect all cable or rope fastenings at all cages, buckets, or slope cars; (ii) inspect hammer locks and pins, thimbles, and clamps; (iii) inspect safety chains on buckets, cage or slope cars; (iv) inspect the braking system for malfunctions; (v) clean all excess oil and extraneous materials from the hoist housing construction; (vi) inspect the overwind, overtravel, and lilly switch or control from stopping at the collar and within 100 feet of the work deck; and (vii) check communications between the top house, work deck and work deck tugger house.

D. Hoisting rope on all cages or trips shall be inspected at the beginning of each shift by the hoisting engineer.

E. A test of safety catches on cages shall be made at least once each month. A written record shall be kept of such tests, and such record shall be available for inspection by interested persons.

F. Hoisting equipment including the headgear, cages, ropes, connections, links and chains, shaft guides, shaft walls, and other facilities shall be inspected daily by an authorized person designated by the operator. Such person shall also inspect all bull wheels and lighting systems on the head frame. Such person shall report immediately to the operator, or his agent, any defects found, and any such defect shall be corrected promptly. The person making such examination shall make a daily permanent record of such inspection, which shall be available for inspection by interested persons. If a hoist is used only during a weekly examination of an escapeway, then the inspection required by this subsection shall only be required to be completed weekly before the examination occurs.

G. Subsections A, B, C, and D shall not apply to automatically operated elevators.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-68, 45.1-69; 1972, c. 784; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.159. Hoisting engineers.

A. A certified hoisting engineer shall be either on duty continuously, or available within a reasonable time as determined by the Chief, to provide immediate transportation while any person is underground, where miners are transported into or out of underground areas of a mine by hoists or on surface inclines.

B. When miners are being hoisted or lowered in shafts, slopes, or on surface inclines, the loading and unloading of miners and movement of the cage, car, or trip shall be under the direction of an authorized person.

C. Subsections A and B shall not apply to automatically operated elevators that can be safely operated by any miner; however, a person qualified as an automatic elevator operator shall be available at such elevators within a reasonable time as determined by the Chief.

D. No operator, or his agent, of any mine worked by shaft, slope or incline shall place in charge of any engine or drum used for lowering or hoisting miners any but competent and sober hoisting engineers. No hoisting engineer in charge of such machinery shall allow any person, except such as may be designated for such purpose by the operator, or his agent, to interfere with any part of the machinery. No person shall interfere with or intimidate the hoisting engineer or automatic elevator operator in the discharge of his duties.

Code 1950, §§ 45-7, 45-12, 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, §§ 45.1-21, 45.1-68, 45.1-69; 1972, c. 784; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 222, 489, 729; 1982, c. 255; 1984, cc. 178, 590; 1988, c. 577; 1993, cc. 171, 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.160. Operations of hoisting equipment.

A. The speed of the cage, car, or trip in shafts, slopes, or on surface inclines shall not exceed 1,000 feet per minute when miners are being hoisted or lowered.

B. When moving the platform or work deck, all miners traveling thereon shall have safety belts secured.

C. No person shall ride on a loaded cage.

D. The number of persons riding in any cage or car at one time shall not exceed the maximum prescribed by the manufacturer. The Chief may prescribe a lesser number when necessary to ensure the safety of miners being transported.

E. Conveyances being lowered into a shaft in which miners are working shall be stopped at least twenty feet above the area where such miners are working.

F. Whenever miners are working at the bottom of a shaft, there shall be an adjustable ladder or chain ladder attached to the work deck to provide an additional means of escape. Such ladder shall be at least twenty feet in length.

G. All chokers and slings used to transport materials within a shaft or slope shall meet specifications established by the United States of America Standards Institute.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-68, 45.1-69; 1972, c. 784; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.161. Maintenance of hoisting equipment.

Hoists, ropes, cages, and other hoisting equipment shall be maintained in a safe operating condition. Hoisting ropes shall be replaced as soon as there is evidence of possible failure.

Code 1950, §§ 45-68.4, 45-69.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-68, 45.1-72; 1972, c. 784; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.162. Mine openings.

A. Except as provided in § 45.1-161.164, there shall be at least two travel ways, entries, or openings to the surface from each section of a mine worked. All longwall panels shall be developed with at least three entries; however, if new technology becomes available pursuant to which two-entry systems may be safely developed, such technology may be used, with the approval of the Chief.

B. One of the required travel ways may be the haulage road.

C. The first opening shall not be made through an adjoining mine. The second opening may be made through an adjoining mine.

D. One of the required travel ways shall be designated as the primary escapeway and shall be in intake air.

E. After July 1, 1999, new surface structures where miners congregate or where the mine map or other official records are kept at the mine shall be offset not less than fifteen feet from the nearest side of any mine opening, or otherwise located to be out of the direct line of possible forces coming out of the mine should an explosion occur, unless otherwise approved by the Chief.

Code 1950, §§ 45-71, 45-71.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-94, 45.1-95; 1984, c. 228; 1985, c. 395; 1990, c. 372; 1992, c. 360; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.163. Separation of openings.

A. In drift or slope mines, openings shall be separated by not less than 50 feet of natural strata, unless specifically approved in the roof control plan. All connections between openings not used for the coursing of air, travel, or haulage shall be closed with stoppings of fireproof material.

B. In shaft mines, openings shall be separated by not less than 200 feet of natural strata.

Code 1950, § 45-71; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-94; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.164. Number of miners in openings.

Until the two travel ways are made as required by § 45.1-161.162, not more than twenty miners shall work underground in the mine at one time. No additional development shall be permitted until the connection is made to the second opening. In mines where final pillar removal operations necessitate closing the second opening, not more than twenty miners shall be permitted to work in the mine.

Code 1950, § 45-71; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-94; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.165. Maintenance of mine openings.

Mine openings that are used for entering and leaving the mine and other required travelways shall be kept in good condition and shall at all times be maintained in a safe condition.

Code 1950, § 45-71; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-94; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.166. Signs, life lines, and equipment.

A. Direction signs shall be posted conspicuously at all points where the travel way to the mine opening, escapeway, or escapement shaft is intercepted by other travel ways. The signs shall indicate the direction of the place of exit, manways, and escapeways.

B. Continuous life lines shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the approved emergency response plan pursuant to subsection A of § 45.1-161.202.

C. Escapeways shall be equipped with all necessary stairways, ladders, cleated walkways, or other equipment approved by the Chief. All equipment shall be installed in such manner that persons using it in emergencies may do so quickly and without undue hazard.

Code 1950, §§ 45-71, 45-71.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-94, 45.1-95; 1984, c. 228; 1985, c. 395; 1990, c. 372; 1992, c. 360; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.167. Examination of escapeways.

The mine foreman shall examine all escapeways for hazardous conditions at least once per week. The mine foreman shall mark his initials and the date at the places examined, and if hazardous conditions are found they shall be reported promptly. A record of these examinations and tests shall be kept at the mine.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-65; 1978, c. 120; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.168. Longwall escape routes and plan.

A. The operator of any mine which uses longwalls as a method of mining shall maintain an accessible travel route off the tailgate end of the longwall working face. He shall familiarize all miners working on the longwall section with the procedures to follow for escape from the section, and shall also inform these miners at any time during which the travel route is impassable.

B. The operator shall develop a plan for use if the travel route becomes impassable. The plan shall address (i) notification of miners that the travel way is blocked and of the method and timetable for reestablishment of the travel way, (ii) re-instruction of miners regarding escapeways and escape procedures in the event of an emergency, (iii) re-instruction of miners on the availability and use of self-contained self-rescue devices, (iv) monitoring and evaluation of the air entering the longwall section, (v) location and effectiveness of the two-way communication systems, and (vi) a means of transportation from the longwall section to the main line. The plan provisions shall remain in effect until a travel way is reestablished on the tailgate side of a longwall section. Such an operation shall include provisions for such protective devices as fire extinguishers and respirators for miners working on the longwall section.

Code 1950, § 45-71.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-95; 1984, c. 228; 1985, c. 395; 1990, c. 372; 1992, c. 360; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.169. Fire protection.

A. Shafts and partitions therein shall be as nearly fireproof as is practicable.

B. Where there is danger of fire entering the mine, openings shall have adequate protection against surface fires or hazardous volumes of smoke entering the mine.

Code 1950, § 45-71.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-95; 1984, c. 228; 1985, c. 395; 1990, c. 372; 1992, c. 360; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.170. Unused openings.

All unused and abandoned surface openings shall be effectively closed or fenced against unauthorized entrance.

Code 1950, § 45-71.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-95; 1984, c. 228; 1985, c. 395; 1990, c. 372; 1992, c. 360; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.171. Portable illumination.

A. All miners underground shall use only permissible electric cap lamps that are worn on the person for portable illumination.

B. Light bulbs on extension cables shall be guarded adequately.

C. The requirement of subsection A shall not preclude the use of other type of permissible electric lamps, permissible flashlights, permissible safety lamps, or any other permissible portable illumination device.

Code 1950, § 45-33; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-96; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 385; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.172. Underground illumination.

A. Electric-light wires shall be supported by suitable insulators or installed in conduit, fastened securely to the power conductors and shall not contact combustible materials.

B. Electric lights shall be guarded and installed so that they do not contact combustible materials.

Code 1950, § 45-82.6; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-86; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.173. Inspection of electric illumination equipment.

All lamps, extension lights and permissible portable illumination such as cap lamps and flashlights that are used for personal illumination underground shall be inspected by an authorized person at least once per week, and more often if necessary, to ensure safe operating conditions. Such equipment located at the surface shall be inspected by an authorized person at least once per month, and more often if necessary, to ensure safe operating conditions. Any defect found shall be corrected.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-85; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.174. Checking system; tracking system.

A. Each mine shall have a personnel checking system containing the following:

1. Every person underground shall have on his person means of positive identification bearing a number recorded by the operator;

2. An accurate record of the persons in the mine shall be kept on the surface in a place that will not be affected by an explosion;

3. The record shall consist of a written record, check board, lamp check, or time-clock record; and

4. The record shall bear a number identical to that carried by the person underground.

B. Mine-wide tracking systems shall be maintained in useable and operative conditions.

Code 1950, § 45-70; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-97; 1994, c. 28; 2015, cc. 103, 397.

§ 45.1-161.175. Protective clothing.

A. All miners shall wear protective hats while underground and while in those areas on the surface where there is a danger of injury from falling objects.

B. Every person assigned to or performing duties on the surface of an underground mine, or any person entering the underground portion of the mine, 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.

C. Protective footwear shall be worn by miners while on duty in and around a mine where falling objects may cause injury.

D. All employees inside or outside of mines shall wear approved-type goggles or shields where there is a hazard from flying particles.

E. Welders and helpers shall use proper shields or goggles to protect their eyes.

F. Miners engaged in haulage operations and miners employed around moving equipment on the surface and underground shall wear snug-fitting clothing.

G. Gloves shall be worn when material which may injure the hands is handled. Gloves with gauntlet cuffs shall not be worn around moving equipment. Gloves shall be worn when handling energized cables.

H. Miners exposed for short periods to hazards from inhalation of gas, dust, fumes, and mist shall wear approved respiratory equipment. When the exposure is for prolonged periods, adequate approved measures to protect miners or to reduce the hazard shall be taken.

Code 1950, § 45-86; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-99; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.176. Noise levels and ear protection.

Approved hearing protection shall be provided to miners by the mine operator. Miners shall wear approved hearing protection in areas of excess noise levels in accordance with the mine's hearing conservation program approved under 30 CFR Part 62.

1978, c. 729, § 45.1-99.1; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.177. Smoking materials prohibited; penalty.

A. No miner or other person shall smoke or carry or possess underground any smoker's articles or matches, lighters, or similar materials generally used for igniting smoker's articles. Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

B. The operator shall institute a smoker search program, approved by the Chief, to ensure that any person entering the underground area of the mine does not carry smoking materials, matches, or lighters.

C. Any person entering or present in any underground area of a coal mine shall, by his entry into the underground area of the mine, be subject to a search of his person, such of his personal property as may be in any underground area of the mine at any time he is underground, or both. Such search shall be conducted at the direction of the Chief by employees of the Department. It shall be limited in scope to the person and property of the persons present underground at the time of the search and shall be for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this section.

D. This section shall not prohibit the possession of equipment used solely for the operation of flame safety lamps or for welding or cutting.

1993, c. 389, § 45.1-98.1; 1994, c. 28; 1995, c. 569.

§ 45.1-161.178. Allowing persons to work in a mine with smoker's articles; penalty.

A. No operator, agent, or mine foreman shall knowingly permit any person in an underground coal mine to smoke, carry or possess any smoker's articles or materials used for igniting smoker's articles.

B. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

1993, c. 389, § 45.1-98.3; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.179. Posting of notice.

The operator, or his agent, shall display, in bold-faced type, on a sign placed at the mine office, bath house, and on a bulletin board at the mine site, the following notice:

NOTICE

IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A MINER OR OTHER PERSON IN AN UNDERGROUND COAL MINE TO SMOKE OR CARRY OR POSSESS UNDERGROUND ANY SMOKER'S ARTICLES OR MATCHES, LIGHTERS, OR SIMILAR MATERIALS GENERALLY USED FOR IGNITING SMOKER'S ARTICLES. A VIOLATION IS PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS 6 FELONY. ANY PERSON ENTERING OR PRESENT IN THE UNDERGROUND AREA OF ANY COAL MINE IS SUBJECT TO A SEARCH OF HIS PERSON AND PROPERTY BY OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MINES, MINERALS AND ENERGY FOR SUCH PROHIBITED SMOKER MATERIALS AT ANY TIME WHILE UNDERGROUND.

1993, c. 389, § 45.1-98.2; 1994, c. 28; 1995, c. 569.

§ 45.1-161.180. Smoking in surface and other areas.

A. No miner or other person shall smoke, carry or possess any smoker's articles, or carry an open flame in or near any magazine for the storage of explosive materials.

B. No miner or other person shall smoke in or around oil houses, tipples, and other surface areas where such practice may cause a fire or explosion.

Code 1950, §§ 45-53.2, 45-85.9; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-39, 45.1-44; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.181. Surface electrical installations.

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

B. Surface transmission lines including trolley circuits shall be protected against short circuits and lightning. Each power circuit that leads underground shall be equipped with lightning arrestors within 100 feet of where the circuit enters the mine.

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; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.182. Surface transformers.

A. Surface transformers which are not isolated by elevation of eight feet or more above the ground 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 door to the enclosure or the gate to the fence shall be kept locked at all times unless persons authorized to enter the gate or enclosure are present.

B. Surface transformers containing flammable oil and installed near mine openings, in or near combustible buildings, or at other places 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.

Code 1950, § 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-76; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.183. Underground transformers.

All transformers used underground shall be air-cooled or filled with nonflammable liquid or inert gas.

Code 1950, § 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-76; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.184. Stations and substations.

A. Suitable danger signs shall be posted conspicuously at all transformer stations.

B. All transformer stations, substations, battery-charging stations, pump stations, and compressor stations shall be kept free of nonessential combustible materials and refuse.

C. Reverse-current protection shall be provided at storage-battery-charging stations to prevent the storage batteries from energizing the power circuits in the event of power failure.

Code 1950, §§ 45-60.4, 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-76, 45.1-77; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.185. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.186. Power circuits.

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

B. Wires and cables not encased in armor shall be supported by well installed insulators and shall not touch combustible materials, roof, or ribs; however, this shall not apply to ground wires, grounded power conductors, and trailing cables.

C. Power wires and cables installed in belt-haulage slopes shall be insulated adequately and buried in a trench not less than 12 inches below combustible material, unless encased in armor or otherwise fully protected against mechanical injury.

D. Splices and repairs in power cables shall be made in accordance with the following:

1. Mechanically strong with adequate electrical conductivity;

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

3. If the cable has metallic armor, mechanical protection and electrical conductivity equivalent to that of the original armor; and

4. If the cable has metallic shielding around each conductor, then the new shielding shall be equivalent to that of the original shielding.

E. All underground high-voltage transmission cables shall be:

1. Installed only in regularly inspected airways;

2. Covered, buried, or placed on insulators so as to afford protection against damage by derailed equipment if installed along the haulage road;

3. Guarded where miners regularly work or pass under them unless they are 6 1/2 feet or more above the floor or rail;

4. Securely anchored, properly insulated, and guarded at ends; and

5. Covered, insulated or placed to prevent contact with trolley circuits and other low-voltage circuits.

F. New high-voltage disconnects installed on all underground electrical equipment shall automatically ground all three power leads when in the open position. All high-voltage disconnects that are rebuilt or remanufactured after July 1, 2011, shall meet this standard.

G. All power wires and cables shall be insulated adequately where they pass into or out of electrical compartments and where they pass through doors and stoppings.

H. Where track is used as a power conductor:

1. Both rails of main-line tracks shall be welded or bonded at every joint, and cross bonds shall be installed at intervals of not more than 200 feet. If the rails are paralleled with a feeder circuit of like polarity, such paralleled feeder shall be bonded to the track rails at intervals of not more than 1,000 feet;

2. At least one rail on secondary track-haulage roads shall be welded or bonded at every joint, and cross bonds shall be installed at intervals of not more than 200 feet; and

3. Track switches on entries shall be well bonded.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.187. Trolley wires and feeder wires.

A. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be installed on the side of the entry opposite the clearance space and shelter holes, except where the wires are guarded or 6 1/2 feet or more above the top of the rail.

B. Trolley-wire hangers shall be so spaced that the wire may become detached from any one hanger without creating a shock hazard.

C. Trolley wires shall be aligned properly and installed on insulated hangers at least six inches outside the rail.

D. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be provided with cut-out switches at intervals of not more than 1,500 feet and near the beginning of all branch lines.

E. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be kept taut and not permitted to touch the roof, ribs, timbers or any combustible material.

F. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be guarded adequately at both sides of doors and at all places where it is necessary to work or pass under them, unless they are more than six and one-half feet above the top of the rail.

G. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall not extend beyond any open crosscut between intake and return airways, and shall be kept at least 150 feet from any active, open pillar workings.

H. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be guarded, anchored securely, and insulated properly at the ends.

I. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be installed only in intake air.

J. Trolley wires or other exposed conductors shall not carry more than 300 volts.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.188. 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. Three-phase alternating current circuits used underground shall contain either a direct or derived neutral which shall be grounded through a suitable resistor at the power center, and a grounding circuit, originating at the grounded side of the grounding resistor, shall extend with the power conductors and serve as the grounding conductor for the frames of all the electrical equipment supplied power from that circuit. Grounding resistors that are manufactured to meet the extended time rating as set forth in IEEE Standard 32-1972, formerly AIEE Standard 32, are deemed to meet the requirements of this section. High-voltage circuits extending underground shall be supplied with a grounding resistor of a proper Ohmic value located on the surface to limit the voltage drop in the grounding circuit external to the resistor to not more than 100 volts under fault conditions. The grounding resistor shall be rated for maximum fault current continuously and insulated from ground for a voltage equal to the phase-to-phase voltage of the system. All resistance-grounded alternating circuits used underground shall include a fail-safe ground check circuit to monitor continuously the grounding circuit to assure the continuity of the ground conductor.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-79; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.189. 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; however, this shall not apply to locomotives operated regularly on grades exceeding five percent. 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. An automatic circuit breaker of correct type and capacity shall be installed on each resistance grounded circuit used underground. Such circuit breaker shall be located at the power source and equipped with devices to provide protection against under-voltage, grounded phase, short circuit and overcurrent.

C. 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.

D. Disconnecting switches shall be installed underground in all main power circuits within approximately 500 feet of the bottoms of shafts and boreholes, and at other places where main power circuits enter the mine.

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

F. 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.

G. Circuit breakers, disconnecting devices and switches shall be marked for identification.

Code 1950, § 45-82.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-80; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.190. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, c. 774, effective April 6, 1996.

§ 45.1-161.191. Communication systems.

A. Telephone service or equivalent two-way communication facilities shall be provided between the top and each landing of main shafts and slopes. A telephone or equivalent two-way communication facility shall be located on the surface within 500 feet of all main portals, and shall be installed either in a building or in a box-like structure designed to protect the facilities from damage by inclement weather. At least one of these communication facilities shall be at a location where an authorized person who is always on duty when miners are underground can see or hear the facility and respond immediately in the event of an emergency.

B. Telephone lines, other than cables, shall be carried on insulators, installed on the opposite side from power or trolley wires, and where they cross power or trolley wires, they shall be insulated adequately.

C. Lightning arrestors shall be provided at the points where telephone circuits enter the mine and at each telephone on the surface. Where the telephone circuit enters a building or structure, the lightning arrestor is only required where the circuit enters such building or structure.

D. If a communication system other than telephones is used and its operation depends entirely upon power from the mine electric system, means shall be provided to permit continued communication in the event the mine electric power fails or is cut off.

E. Communication systems equipped with audible and visual signals that become operative when telephone communication is being established between the phones of the communication station on the surface and the underground working sections shall be provided.

F. The Chief shall promulgate regulations governing any disruption of communication in mines.

Code 1950, § 45-82.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-81; 1978, c. 118; 1979, c. 315; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.192. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.193. Electric equipment.

A. Electric equipment taken into or used inby the last open crosscut or in other than intake air shall be permissible equipment.

B. Permissible equipment used in areas specified in subsection A shall be maintained in permissible condition.

C. Electric equipment shall not be taken into or operated in any place where a methane level of one percent or more is detected.

D. Voltage limitations for underground installations of electric equipment using direct or alternating current shall conform to the voltages provided in 30 C.F.R. § 18.47.

E. Electric equipment must be permissible and maintained in a permissible condition when such equipment is located within 150 feet of pillar workings or longwall faces.

F. Electric conductors and cables installed in or by the last open crosscut, or within 150 feet of pillar workings or longwall faces, shall be:

1. Shielded high-voltage cables supplying power to permissible longwall and other equipment;

2. Interconnecting conductors and cables of permissible longwall equipment;

3. Conductors and cables of intrinsically safe circuits; or

4. Cables and conductors supplying power to low and medium voltage permissible equipment.

G. Electric equipment shall be maintained in safe operating condition at all times while it is being used, and any unsafe condition shall be corrected promptly or the equipment shall be removed from service.

Code 1950, § 45-83; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-83; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2015, cc. 103, 397.

§ 45.1-161.194. Trailing cables.

A. Trailing cables used underground shall be flame-resistant cables.

B. Trailing cables shall be provided with suitable short-circuit protection and means of disconnecting power from the cable. Power connections made in other than intake air shall be by means of permissible connectors.

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

D. No more than one temporary, unvulcanized splice shall be allowed in a trailing cable.

E. Permanent splices or repairs in trailing cables shall be made as follows:

1. They shall be mechanically strong with adequate electrical conductivity and flexibility;

2. They shall be effectively insulated and sealed so as to exclude moisture;

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

4. If the cable has metallic shielding around each conductor, then the new shielding shall be equivalent to that of the original shielding.

F. Trailing cables shall be protected against mechanical damage. Trailing cables damaged in a manner that exposes the insulated inner power conductors shall be repaired promptly or removed from service.

Code 1950, § 45-82.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-84; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.195. Inspection of electric equipment and wiring; checking and testing methane monitors.

A. Electric equipment and wiring shall be inspected by a certified person at least weekly if located underground, and at least monthly if located on the surface, and more often if necessary to assure safe operating conditions, and any hazardous condition found shall be promptly corrected or the equipment or wiring shall be removed from service. Records of such examination shall be maintained at the mine for a period of one year.

B. A functional check of methane monitors on electrical face equipment shall be conducted to determine that such monitors are de-energizing the electrical face equipment properly. Such check shall be made on each production shift and shall be conducted by the equipment operator in the presence of a mine foreman, and shall be recorded in the on-shift report of the mine foreman.

C. Weekly calibration tests on methane monitors on electrical face equipment to determine the accuracy and operation of such monitors shall be conducted with a known mixture of methane at the flow rate recommended by the methane monitor manufacturer. A record of the results shall be maintained.

D. Required methane monitors shall be maintained in permissible and proper operating condition.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-85; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.196. Repairs to circuits and electric equipment.

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, miners 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, 45-82.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.197. First aid equipment.

Each mine shall have an adequate supply of first aid equipment as determined by the Chief. Such supplies shall be located on the surface, at the bottom of shafts and slopes, and at other strategic locations near the working faces, as shall be prescribed by the Chief. The first aid supplies shall be encased in suitable sanitary receptacles designed to be reasonably dust-tight and moisture-proof. The supplies shall be available for use of all persons employed in the mine. No first aid material 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; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.198. Attention to injured persons.

A. When an injury occurs underground, the injured person shall be brought promptly to the surface. Prompt medical attention shall be provided in the event of injury, and adequate facilities shall be made available for transporting injured persons to a hospital if necessary.

B. Safe transportation shall be provided to carry an injured person from the site where the injury occurred to the surface of the mine.

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.

§ 45.1-161.199. Certified emergency medical services providers.

At least one person who is a working coal miner and who holds a valid certificate as an emergency medical services provider issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Health shall be located so as to be available for duty at each mine when miners are working at that mine. Such emergency medical services providers shall be utilized in sufficient numbers to assure that workers in any mine location can be reached by them within such reasonable time as is determined by the Chief. Emergency medical services providers shall have available to them at all times the necessary equipment, as specified by the Chief, for prompt response to emergencies. In the event that at any time there is at any mine an insufficient number of qualified miners volunteering to serve as emergency medical services providers as provided for in this section, the operator may elect to utilize the services of first aid trainees, in such numbers as the Chief determines to be appropriate. Telephone or equivalent facilities shall be installed to provide two-way voice communication between the emergency medical services providers and medical personnel outside the mine.

1977, c. 679, § 45.1-101.1; 1978, c. 94; 1994, c. 28; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 45.1-161.200. Firefighting equipment; fire prevention.

A. Each mine shall be provided with suitable firefighting equipment, adequate for the size of the mine.

B. The following equipment, at a minimum, shall be immediately available at each mine:

1. A water car filled with water and provided with hose and pump, or waterlines and necessary hoses;

2. At least three 20-pound dry chemical fire extinguishers;

3. Ten 50-pound bags of rock dust, available at doors or other strategic places;

4. Bolt cutters which may be used to cut trolley wire in an emergency;

5. One pair of rubber gloves to be used with bolt cutters when cutting trolley wire;

6. Two sledge hammers; and

7. Five hundred square feet of brattice cloth, nails and hammer.

C. Clean dry sand, rock dust, or fire extinguishers, suitable from a toxic and shock standpoint, shall be provided and placed at each electrical station, such as substations, transformer stations and permanent pump stations, so as to be out of the smoke in case of a fire in the station.

D. 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 and at the inby end of belts; (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 on the fresh air side in case of a fire.

E. All firefighting equipment and fire sensor systems shall be maintained in a useable and operative condition. Chemical extinguishers shall be examined every six months and the date of the examination shall be indicated on a tag attached to the extinguishers.

F. A sufficient number of approved one-hour self-contained self-rescuers shall be readily available, not more than 100 feet away, for the persons involved in the moving or transporting of any unit of off-track mining equipment.

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; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2015, cc. 103, 397.

§ 45.1-161.201. Duties in case of fire.

A. In case of a fire, the next inby permanent stopping into the return air course shall be opened, as soon as possible, in order to short circuit the air and permit close access to the fire for extinguishment.

B. When a fire that may endanger persons underground cannot be extinguished immediately, the persons shall be withdrawn promptly from the mine.

C. 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.

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.

§ 45.1-161.202. Emergency response plans; list of next of kin.

A. Operators shall develop an emergency response plan for each mine. The plan shall include (i) a mine emergency communication plan, (ii) an evacuation procedure, (iii) the identification of waterlines, (iv) the number system of brattice, (v) the location of escapeways, and (vi) such other information as the Chief may reasonably require.

B. The operator shall maintain a list of the next of kin of all miners employed at the mine. The list shall be kept at the mine site or at a central facility readily accessible to the mine.

C. An emergency response plan shall be subject to approval by the Chief or mine inspector. The Chief may require periodic updates to an operator's emergency response plan. Operators shall comply with the requirements of the approved plan.

D. The emergency response plan shall be posted in a conspicuous manner and place, readily accessible to all miners, underground and at the surface of the mine.

E. The operator shall train miners in the implementation of the emergency response plan and shall conduct practice drills. Records of dates and times of practice drills shall be maintained in the emergency response plan.

F. Each miner employed by the operator who goes underground and each visitor authorized to enter the mine by the operator shall have available an adequate supply of self-rescue devices, each of which provides one hour or longer protection and is approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The training related to self-rescue devices shall be included in the emergency response plan approved by the Chief.

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; 1996, c. 774; 2006, c. 291.

§ 45.1-161.203. Reporting fires; response.

In case of any unplanned fire at a mine not extinguished within thirty minutes of discovery, the operator shall report to the Chief, by the quickest available means, all information known to him. The Chief, based on the information, shall promptly go in person or dispatch a mine inspector 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 the mine inspector shall be final. The decision of the Chief regarding measures to extinguish the fire and protect persons shall have the force of an order issued pursuant to § 45.1-161.91 if delivered to the operator in writing.

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.

§ 45.1-161.204. Fire prevention in transportation of mining equipment.

A. Prior to moving or transporting any unit of off-track mining equipment in areas of the active workings where energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires are present: (i) the unit of equipment shall be examined by a certified person to ensure that accumulations of coal dust, float coal dust, loose coal, oil, grease, and other combustible materials have been removed from such unit of equipment; and (ii) a qualified person shall examine the trolley wires, trolley feeder wires, and the associated automatic circuit interrupting devices to ensure that proper short circuit protection exists.

B. A record shall be kept of the examinations and shall be made available, upon request, to the Chief or his authorized representative.

C. Off-track mining equipment shall be moved or transported in areas of the active workings where energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires are present only under the direct supervision of a certified person who shall be physically present at all times during moving or transporting such equipment.

D. The frames of off-track mining equipment being moved or transported shall be covered on the top and on the trolley wire side with fire-resistant material.

E. Electrical contact shall be maintained between the mine track and the frames of off-track mining equipment being moved in-track and trolley entries, except that rubber-tired equipment need not be grounded to a transporting vehicle if no metal part of such rubber-tired equipment can come into contact with the transporting vehicle.

F. To avoid accidental contact with power lines, the equipment being transported or trammed shall be insulated or assemblage removed, if necessary, if the clearance to the power lines is six inches or less.

G. Sufficient prior notice shall be given the Department so that a mine inspector may travel the route of the move before the actual move is made, if he deems it necessary.

H. A minimum vertical clearance of twelve inches shall be maintained between the farthest projection of the unit of equipment which is being moved and the energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires at all times during the movement or transportation of such equipment. If the height of the coal seam does not permit twelve inches of vertical clearance to be so maintained, the following additional precautions shall be taken:

1. Electric power shall be supplied to the trolley wires or trolley feeder wires only from outby the unit of equipment being moved or transported. Where direct current electric power is used and such electric power can be supplied only from inby the equipment being moved or transported, power may be supplied from inby such equipment if a miner with the means to cut off the power, and in direct communication with persons actually engaged in the moving or transporting operation, is stationed outby the equipment being moved;

2. The settings of automatic circuit interrupting devices used to provide short circuit protection for the trolley circuit shall be reduced to not more than one-half of the maximum current that could flow if the equipment being moved or transported were to come into contact with the trolley wire or trolley feeder wire;

3. At all times when the unit of equipment is being moved or transported, a miner shall be stationed at the first automatic circuit breaker outby the equipment being moved. Such miner shall be (i) in direct communication with persons actually engaged in the moving or transporting operation and (ii) capable of communicating with the authorized person on the surface required to be on duty;

4. Where trolley phones are utilized to satisfy the requirements of subdivision 3 of this subsection, telephones or other equivalent two-way communication devices that can readily be connected with the mine communication system shall be carried by the miner stationed at the first automatic circuit breaker outby the equipment being moved and by a miner actually engaged in the moving or transporting operation; and

5. No person shall be permitted to be inby the unit of equipment being moved or transported, or in the ventilating current of air that is passing over such equipment, except those persons directly engaged in moving such equipment.

The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to units of mining equipment that are transported in mine cars, provided that no part of the equipment extends above or over the sides of the mine car.

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.

§ 45.1-161.205. Storage and use of flammable fluids and materials.

A. Underground storage places for oil, grease and flammable hydraulic fluid shall be of fireproof construction.

B. Oil, grease and flammable hydraulic fluid kept underground for current use shall be in closed metal containers.

C. Provisions shall be made to prevent accumulation of spilled oil or grease at the storage places or at the locations where such materials are used.

D. Oily rags, oily waste, and wastepaper shall be kept in closed metal containers until removed for disposal.

E. No gasoline, benzene, kerosene or other flammable oils shall be used underground in powering machinery.

F. All oxygen and acetylene bottles used underground shall be secured while in use. When stored underground, oxygen and acetylene bottles shall be placed in a safe location, protected from physical damage, with caps in place where provided for on the tank, and secured upright or elevated, whichever mine heights allow.

Code 1950, §§ 45-14.1, 45-43; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-89, 45.1-90, 45.1-100; 1974, c. 323; 1978, cc. 118, 729; 1981, c. 131; 1984, c. 590, § 45.1-89, c. 639; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.206. Diesel powered equipment.

Diesel powered equipment may be utilized underground with the written approval of the Chief. The Chief shall promulgate regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. The regulations shall require that the air in each travel way in which diesel equipment is used, and in any active workings connected thereto, be of a quality necessary for a safe, healthful working environment. The minimum quantity of ventilating air that must be supplied for a permissible diesel machine in a given time shall conform to that shown on the approval plate attached to the machine. All diesel machines and equipment shall be maintained in such manner that the exhaust emissions meet the same standards to which the machine or equipment was manufactured.

Code 1950, § 45-43; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-90; 1978, c. 729; 1981, c. 131; 1984, c. 639; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.207. Arcs, sparks and flames.

A. The intentional creation of any open arc, open spark or open flame, except as provided in subsection B, shall be prohibited.

B. Welding and cutting with arc or flame or soldering underground in other than a fireproof enclosure ventilated with intake air shall be done by or under the direct instruction of a certified foreman or repairman. A person certified in gas detection shall test for methane before and during such operations in underground mines and shall make a diligent search for fire after such operation in all mines. Rock dust or suitable fire extinguishers shall be immediately available during such welding or cutting. Welding operations shall be performed only in well ventilated areas.

Code 1950, §§ 45-72, 45-82.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-98; 1978, c. 729; 1993, cc. 389, 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.208. Pre-shift examinations.

A. The operator or his agent shall establish eight-hour intervals of time subject to required pre-shift examinations. Within three hours preceding the beginning of any such eight-hour interval during which any person is scheduled to work or travel underground, mine foremen shall make a pre-shift examination. No person scheduled to enter the mine during the eight-hour interval other than the mine foremen conducting the examination may enter any underground area unless a pre-shift examination has been completed for such established eight-hour interval.

B. During the pre-shift examination, the mine foreman shall (i) examine for hazardous conditions, (ii) test for methane and oxygen deficiency with a suitable permissible device, and (iii) determine whether the air is traveling in its regular course and in sufficient volume in each split, at the following locations which are underground:

1. Track entries and other areas where persons are scheduled to work or travel during the oncoming shift;

2. Belt conveyors that will be used to transport persons during the oncoming shift and the entries in which these belt conveyors are located;

3. Working sections and areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed, if anyone is being scheduled to work on the section or in the area during the oncoming shift. This includes working places, approaches to worked-out areas, and ventilation controls on these sections or in these areas;

4. Approaches to worked-out areas along intake air courses if intake air passes by the worked-out area to ventilate working sections where anyone is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift;

5. Seals along intake air courses where intake air passes by a seal to ventilate working sections where anyone is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift;

6. Entries and rooms driven more than 20 feet off an intake air course without a crosscut and without permanent ventilation controls, or more than two crosscuts off an intake air course without permanent ventilation controls where intake air passes through or by these entries or rooms to a working section where anyone is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift; and

7. Where unattended diesel equipment is to operate or areas where trolley wires or trolley feeder wires are to be or will remain energized during the oncoming shift.

C. During the pre-shift examination, the mine foreman shall determine the volume of air entering each of the following areas if a miner is scheduled to work in the areas during the oncoming shift:

1. In the last open crosscut, which means the crosscut in the line of pillars containing the permanent stoppings that separate the intake air courses and the return air courses, of each set of entries or rooms on each working section and areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed;

2. On each longwall or shortwall in the intake entry or entries at the intake end of the longwall or shortwall face immediately outby the face and the velocity of air at each end of the face at the locations specified in the approved ventilation plan required by the federal mine safety law; and

3. At the intake end of any pillar line (i) if a single split of air is used, in the intake entry furthest from the return air course, immediately outby the first open crosscut outby the line of pillars being mined, or (ii) if a split system is used, in the intake entries of each split immediately inby the split point.

D. A mine foreman shall make a pre-shift examination of surface areas of underground coal mines in accordance with the requirements for pre-shift examinations at surface coal mines as provided in § 45.1-161.256.

E. The Chief may require the mine foreman to examine other areas of the mine or examine for other hazards during the pre-shift examination.

F. Any area of the mine where hazardous conditions are found shall be posted with a conspicuous danger sign where anyone entering the area would pass. Only persons designated by the operator, or his agent, to correct or evaluate the condition may enter this posted area.

G. At each working place examined, the mine foreman shall certify by initials, date, and time, that the examination was made. In areas to be examined outby a working section, the mine foreman shall certify by initials, date, and time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.

H. Idle and worked-out areas underground shall be inspected for gas and other hazardous conditions by a mine foreman, immediately before miners are permitted to enter or work in such places. A certified person shall supervise the correction of conditions that create an imminent danger. The mine operator, or his agent, may pass beyond the danger signal only in cases of necessity.

I. Where persons have not been working underground before an established eight-hour interval, no person other than the mine foremen conducting a pre-shift examination may enter the mine until the examination has been completed and the mine foremen report the mine to be clear of danger; however, miners may enter under the direction of a mine foreman for the purpose of making the mine safe. The Chief shall have the authority in certain mines, in his discretion, to authorize man-trips to proceed to a designated station underground, from which they may not pass until the mine foremen report the remainder of the areas of the mine to be clear of danger.

J. Miners regularly employed on a shift during which a pre-shift examination is being conducted shall be permitted to leave or enter the mine in the performance of their duties.

K. In multiple shift operations, certified persons may be used to make the pre-shift examination for the next or succeeding shift.

L. Areas of inactive underground coal mines shall be examined for gas and other hazardous conditions by a mine foreman immediately before miners are permitted to enter such areas to take emergency actions to preserve a mine.

M. In the performance of his duties under this section, the mine foreman shall have no superior officer, and all miners shall be subordinate to him.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-65; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 385; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.209. On-shift examinations.

A. At least once during each shift, and more often if necessary, a certified person shall examine each underground section where coal is produced and any other area where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed during the shift. The certified person shall (i) examine for hazardous conditions, (ii) test for methane and oxygen deficiency with a suitable permissible device, and (iii) determine whether the air is traveling in its regular course and in sufficient volume in each split. Hazardous conditions shall be corrected immediately or the miners shall be withdrawn and the affected area plainly marked with "danger" signs.

B. During each shift that coal is produced, a certified person shall examine for hazardous conditions along each underground belt conveyor entry where a belt conveyor is operated. This examination may be conducted at the same time as the pre-shift examination of the belt conveyors and the belt conveyor entries, if the examination is conducted within three hours before the established eight-hour interval. The person conducting the examination shall certify by initials, date, and time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.

C. Persons conducting the on-shift examination shall determine at the following locations which are underground:

1. The volume of air in the last open crosscut, which means the crosscut in the line of pillars containing the permanent stoppings that separate the intake air courses and the return air courses, of each set of entries or rooms on each working section and areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed;

2. The volume of air on a longwall or shortwall, including areas where longwall or shortwall equipment is being installed or removed, in the intake entry or entries at the intake end of the longwall or shortwall;

3. The velocity of air at each end of the longwall or shortwall face at the locations specified in the approved ventilation plan required pursuant to the federal mine safety law; and

4. The volume of air at the intake end of any pillar line (i) where a single split of air is used, in the intake entry furthest from the return air course, immediately outby the first open crosscut outby the line of pillars being mined, or (ii) if a split system is used, in the intake entries of each split immediately inby the split point.

D. A test shall be made for methane before any electrically powered equipment is taken inby the last open crosscut, before blasting, and before work is resumed after blasting. When longwall or shortwall mining systems are used, these methane tests shall be made from under permanent roof support at the shearer, the plow, or cutting head. These methane tests shall be made at least once every 20 minutes or more often as necessary for safety while such equipment is in operation. When mining has been stopped for more than 20 minutes, methane tests shall be conducted prior to the start up of equipment.

E. Idle or worked-out areas underground, including section belts that have been idle for a period of 24 hours, shall be examined by a certified person immediately before miners are permitted to enter or work in such areas. The person conducting the examination shall certify by initials, date, and time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.

F. Daily and on-shift examinations of surface areas of underground coal mines shall be made in accordance with the requirements for daily and on-shift examinations at surface coal mines as provided in § 45.1-161.256.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-60.5, 45-68.1, 45-69.7, 45-83; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-62, 45.1-65, 45.1-83; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 385; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.210. Weekly examinations.

A. At least every seven days, a mine foreman shall examine unsealed worked-out areas where no pillars have been recovered.

B. At least every seven days, a mine foreman shall evaluate the effectiveness of bleeder systems used under § 45.1-161.220.

C. At least every seven days, a mine foreman shall examine the following locations for hazardous conditions:

1. In at least one entry of each intake air course, in its entirety, so that the entire air course is traveled.

2. In at least one entry of each return air course, in its entirety, so that the entire air course is traveled.

3. In each longwall or shortwall travel way in its entirety, so that the entire travel way is traveled.

4. At each seal along return and bleeder air courses and at each seal along intake air courses not examined under § 45.1-161.208.

5. In each escapeway so that the entire escapeway is traveled.

6. On each working section not examined under § 45.1-161.208 during the previous seven days.

D. At least every seven days, a certified person shall:

1. Determine the volume of air entering the main intakes and in each intake split;

2. Determine the volume of air and test for methane in the last open crosscut in any pair or set of developing entries or rooms, in the return of each split of air immediately before it enters the main returns and where the air leaves the main returns; and

3. Test for methane in the return entry nearest each set of seals immediately after the air passes the seals.

E. Hazardous conditions shall be corrected immediately. If the condition creates an imminent danger, everyone except those persons necessary to correct the hazardous conditions shall be withdrawn from the area affected to a safe area until the hazardous condition is corrected.

F. Weekly examination is not required during any seven-day period in which no person enters any underground area of the mine. When a mine is idled or in a nonproducing status with entry only for maintenance of the mine, weekly examinations may be conducted in accordance with a plan approved by the Chief.

G. Except for certified persons required to make examinations, no person shall enter any underground area of a coal mine if the weekly examination has not been completed within the preceding seven days. The weekly examination may be conducted at the same time as the pre-shift examination.

H. The person making the weekly examinations shall certify by initials, date, and the time that the examination was made. Certifications and time shall appear at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.

I. Examinations of surface areas of underground coal mines shall be made in accordance with the requirements for weekly examinations at surface coal mines as provided in § 45.1-161.256.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-35, 45-40, 45-60.4, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-17, 45.1-56, 45.1-65; 1968, c. 310; 1978, cc. 120, 729; 1993, cc. 170, 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.211. Examinations of fans.

A. A daily inspection shall be made of all main fans and machinery connected therewith by an authorized person. The person making the examination shall make a record of the same in a book prescribed for this purpose or by adequate facilities provided to permanently record the performance of the main fan and to give warning of an interruption to a fan. No daily examination is required on any day in which no person goes underground, except that the examination shall be completed prior to any person entering the mine if the previous day's examination has not been made.

B. Places ventilated by means of blower fans shall be examined for methane by a certified person before the fan is started at the beginning of the shift and after any interruption of fan operation for five minutes or more during the shift.

C. The blower fan and tubing shall be inspected at least twice during each working shift by a certified person.

Code 1950, §§ 45-60.1, 45-60.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-54, 45.1-55; 1978, c. 120; 1988, c. 597; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.212. Record of examinations.

A. Any hazardous condition found by the mine foreman or other certified persons designated by the operator for the purposes of conducting examinations under Article 14 (§ 45.1-161.208 et seq.) of this chapter shall be corrected immediately, or the affected area shall be dangered off until the condition is corrected. If the hazardous condition creates an imminent danger all persons except those required to perform work to correct the imminent danger shall be withdrawn from the affected area. A record of the hazardous condition found and the corrective actions taken shall be made in a book maintained for this purpose on the surface at the mine. The record shall be made by the completion of the shift on which the hazardous condition is found.

B. Upon completing the pre-shift examination, the mine foreman shall return to the surface or a designated station underground and report in person to an authorized person before other miners enter the mine. Immediately upon reaching the surface, the mine foreman shall record in ink or indelible pencil the result of his inspection in a book kept on the surface for that purpose.

C. At the completion of any shift during which a portion of a weekly examination is made, a record of hazardous conditions, their locations, the corrective action taken, and the results and location of air and methane measurements shall be made. The record shall be made by the person making the examination or by a person designated by the operator. If the record is made by a person other than the examiner, the examiner shall verify the record by initials and date.

D. The actual level of methane detected in any examination shall be recorded in the book.

E. A mine foreman or other certified person conducting a required examination shall record the results of his examination in ink or indelible pencil in a book kept on the surface for that purpose. Similar records may be kept at designated stations or offices underground.

F. 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.

G. All records of examination 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, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-65; 1978, c. 120; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.213. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2005, c. 3, cl. 2, effective February 10, 2005.

§ 45.1-161.214. Notice of hazardous conditions.

The mine foreman shall give prompt attention to the removal of all hazardous conditions reported to him by any person working in the mine. If it is impracticable to remove the hazardous condition at once, he shall notify every person whose safety is menaced thereby to remain away from the portion of the mine where the hazardous condition exists.

Code 1950, §§ 45-35, 45-40; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-17; 1978, c. 729; 1993, c. 170; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.215. Notice of monitor tampering prohibition.

The operator or agent, shall display, in bold-faced type, on a sign placed at the mine office, at the bath house, and on a bulletin board at the mine site, the following notice:

NOTICE: IT IS UNLAWFUL TO DISTURB, DISCONNECT, BYPASS, IMPAIR, OR OTHERWISE TAMPER WITH METHANE MONITORS OR OTHER DEVICES CAPABLE OF DETECTING THE PRESENCE OF EXPLOSIVE GASES IN AN UNDERGROUND COAL MINE. A VIOLATION IS PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS 6 FELONY.

1993, c. 247, § 45.1-65.2; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.216. Main fans.

A. The active workings of a mine shall be ventilated by means of main fans.

B. Unless otherwise approved by the Chief, fans shall be (i) provided with pressure-recording gauges, (ii) installed on the surface in fireproof housings, and (iii) equipped with fireproof air ducts.

C. In addition to the requirements of subsection B, main fans shall either:

1. Be equipped with ample means of pressure relief, and be offset not less than 15 feet from the nearest side of the mine opening; or

2. Be directly in front of, or over, the mine opening; however, the opening shall not be in direct line with possible forces coming out of the mine should an explosion occur, and there shall be another opening having a weak-wall stopping or explosion doors that would be in direct line with the forces coming out of the mine should an explosion occur, such opening to be not less than 15 feet nor more than 100 feet from the fan opening; and

3. In mines ventilated by multiple main mine fans, incombustible doors shall be installed so that if any main mine fan stops and air reversals through the fan are possible, the doors on the affected fan automatically close.

D. Main mine fans shall be provided with an automatic device to give alarm when the fan slows down or stops. Unless otherwise approved by the Chief, this device shall be placed so that it will be seen or heard by an authorized person.

E. Main fans shall be on separate power circuits, independent of the mine circuit.

F. The area surrounding main fan installations shall be kept free of combustible material for at least 100 feet in all directions where physical conditions permit.

G. Mine fans shall be operated continuously, except when intentionally stopped for necessary testing, adjustment, maintenance, or repairs while no miners are underground, or as otherwise approved by the Chief. If the main fan is intentionally stopped for testing, adjustment, maintenance, or repairs, the mine operator shall comply with the requirements set forth in the approved fan stoppage plan for that mine. If the main fan is stopped after all miners are out of the mine, the fan shall be operated for a period specified in the approved fan stoppage plan for that mine before any miner is allowed underground.

H. Where electric power is available, main mine fans shall not be powered by means of internal combustion engines; however, where electric power is not available or for emergency use, main mine fans may be powered with internal combustion engines if, unless otherwise approved by the Chief, (i) the fan shall be operated exhausting, and (ii) the engine operating the fan shall be offset at least 10 feet from the fan and housed in a separate fireproof structure.

Code 1950, § 45-60.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-54; 1978, c. 120; 1988, c. 597; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.217. Fan stoppage plan.

A fan stoppage plan shall be prepared for each mine, which plan shall be subject to approval by the Chief or his designated representative. Failure to comply with requirements set forth in the approved plan will be a violation of this section. Fan stoppage plans shall require the following:

1. When the main fan fails or stops, the power shall be cut off from the mine and miners shall be withdrawn from the face areas.

2. Miners shall be withdrawn from the underground areas if the ventilation is not restored within a reasonable time determined by the Chief, which period of time shall not exceed fifteen minutes. In determining the reasonable time period, the Chief shall consider, among other things, the size and number of fans, and the methane liberation rate of the mine.

3. If ventilation is restored within the time period established in the plan, the face areas and other areas where methane is likely to accumulate shall be examined by a certified person, and if the areas are found to be free of explosive or harmful gases, power may be restored and work resumed.

4. If ventilation is not restored within the time period established in the plan and the miners are evacuated from the mine, the main fan shall be operated for a period of time specified in the plan, which shall not be less than fifteen minutes. Thereafter the mine shall be examined by a certified person before miners shall be permitted underground or energizing power circuits.

Code 1950, § 45-60.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-54; 1978, c. 120; 1988, c. 597; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.218. Auxiliary fans.

A. The installation or use of auxiliary fans in any mine shall be prohibited, without the prior written approval of the Chief.

B. Machine mounted scrubbers and spray fan systems may be used for control of coal dust and to enhance ventilation. Such installations are not considered auxiliary fans.

Code 1950, § 45-60.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-55; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.219. Volume of air.

A. The quantity of air passing through the last open crosscut shall be not less than 9,000 cubic feet per minute; provided, however, that the quantity of air reaching the last open crosscut in pillar-recovery sections may be less than 9,000 cubic feet per minute, if at least 9,000 cubic feet of air per minute is being delivered to the intake end of the pillar line.

B. The air current at working faces shall, under all conditions, have a sufficient volume and velocity to readily dilute and carry away smoke from blasting and any flammable or harmful gases and dust.

C. In longwall and shortwall mining systems:

1. The quantity of air shall be at least 30,000 cubic feet per minute reaching the working face unless otherwise approved by the Chief; and

2. The velocity of air provided to control dust at designated locations on the longwall or shortwall face shall be maintained in accordance with the provisions of the mine ventilation plan approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

D. Ventilation shall be maintained during the installation and removal of mechanized mining equipment.

Code 1950, §§ 45-4.1, 45-9, 45-12, 45-60.4, 45-74; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-5, 45.1-56; 1968, c. 310; 1976, c. 598; 1978, c. 120; 1984, c. 236; 1985, c. 448; 1987, c. 470; 1990, c. 963; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.220. Bleeder systems.

A. All mines shall have a system, which has been approved by the Chief, of bleeder openings of air courses designed to provide positive movement of air through or around worked-out areas which is sufficient to prevent a hazardous accumulation of gas in such areas and to minimize the effect of variations in atmospheric pressure. Operators shall submit bleeder system plans which comply with requirements developed by the Chief. The system requirements developed by the Chief shall, at a minimum, address standards for (i) supplemental roof supports, (ii) water accumulation, (iii) continuous movement of gases from gob areas, (iv) methane content, (v) the use and operation of degasification systems, (vi) air flow direction, and content, (vii) ventilation controls. The Chief shall not approve a plan which provides for a methane content exceeding four and one-half percent in bleeder air courses. Failure to comply with an approved plan will be a violation of this section. This section shall not prohibit the sealing of worked-out areas in accordance with § 45.1-161.228.

B. The mine map requirements of § 45.1-161.64 may be used to depict bleeder system standards specified in this section.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-56; 1968, c. 310; 1978, c. 120; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.221. Coursing of air.

A. The main intake and return air currents of drifts or slope mines shall not be in a single partitioned opening.

B. All entries driven in coal shall be in sets of two or more.

C. Underground transformer stations, battery-charging stations, substations, rectifiers, and water pumps shall be housed in noncombustible structures or areas, or be equipped with an approved fire suppression system. These installations shall be ventilated with intake air that is coursed into a return air course or to the surface, and that is not used to ventilate working places. This requirement does not apply to: (i) rectifiers, power centers with transformers that are either dry-type or contain nonflammable liquid, or battery-charging stations, if they are located at or near the working section and are moved as the working section advances or retreats, (ii) submersible pumps, (iii) permissible pumps and associated permissible switch gear, (iv) pumps located at or near the working section that are moved as the working section advances or retreats, and (v) small portable pumps. Such equipment shall be installed and operated only in well-ventilated locations.

D. Changes in ventilation that materially affect the main air current or any split thereof shall be made when the mine is not in operation and there are no miners in the mine other than those engaged in changing the ventilation.

E. Each section in a mine shall be ventilated by a separate split of air.

F. Air used to ventilate belt haulage entries shall not be used to ventilate any working place unless approved by the Chief.

Code 1950, §§ 45-60.4, 45-71; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-57; 1978, c. 120; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.222. Actions for excessive methane.

A. Tests for methane concentration under this section shall be made by certified or qualified persons trained in the use of an approved detecting device which is properly maintained and calibrated. Tests shall be made at least twelve inches from the roof, face, ribs, and floor.

B. When one percent or more methane is present in a working place or an intake air course, including an air course in which a belt conveyor is located, or in an area where mining equipment is being installed or removed, work shall cease and electrical power shall be de-energized in the affected working place at the equipment except intrinsically safe atmospheric monitoring systems (AMS). Changes or adjustments shall be made to the ventilation system to reduce the concentration to below one percent. Only work to reduce the concentration of methane below one percent shall be permitted. This does not apply to other faces in the entry or slope in which work can be safely continued.

C. When one and one-half percent or more methane is present in a working place or an intake air course, including an air course in which a belt conveyor is located, or an area where mining equipment is being installed or removed, only work necessary to reduce the methane concentration to less than one and one-half percent will be permitted and all other personnel shall be withdrawn from the affected area. Electrically powered equipment in the affected area shall be de-energized and other mechanized equipment shall be shut off except for intrinsically safe atmospheric monitoring systems (AMS).

D. When one percent or more methane is present in a return or split between the last working place on a working section and where that split of air meets another split of air, or the location at which the split is used to ventilate seals or worked-out areas, changes or adjustments shall be made to the ventilation system to reduce the concentration of methane in the return air to less than one percent.

E. When one and one-half percent or more methane is present in a return air split between the last working place on a working section and where that split of air meets another split of air or the location where the split is used to ventilate seals or worked-out areas, everyone except those persons required to perform necessary work to correct the problem shall be withdrawn from the affected area. Other than intrinsically safe atmospheric monitoring systems (AMS), all equipment in the affected area shall be de-energized at the source. No other work shall be permitted in the affected area until the concentration of methane in the return air is less than one percent.

F. An alternative methane level up to one and one-half percent may be allowed in the return air split where the following precautions are met: (i) the quantity of air in the split ventilating the active workings is at least 27,000 cubic feet per minute in the last open crosscut; (ii) the methane content of the air in the split is continuously monitored during mining operations by an intrinsically safe atmospheric monitoring system (AMS) that gives a visual and audible signal on the working section when the methane in the return air reaches one and one-half percent; and (iii) rock dust is continuously applied with a mechanical duster to the return air course during coal production at a location in the air course immediately outby the most inby monitoring point or inby such point provided the mechanical duster is maintained in a permissible condition and does not adversely affect the AMS. When one and one-half percent or more methane is present where a return air alternative is applied, all persons shall be withdrawn, except those necessary to improve ventilation, and changes or adjustments shall be made to reduce the concentration of methane in the return air to below one and one-half percent as set forth in subsection E.

G. The concentration of methane in a bleeder split of air immediately before the air in the split joins another split of air, or in a return air course other than described in subsections D and E, shall not exceed two percent.

Code 1950, § 45-60.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-58; 1978, c. 120; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.223. Crosscuts.

A. Crosscuts shall be made between entries and between rooms as provided in the approved roof control plan.

B. Crosscuts between intake and return air courses shall be closed, except the one nearest the face. Crosscuts between rooms shall be closed where necessary to provide adequate ventilation at the working face.

C. Where practicable, a crosscut shall be provided at or near the face of each entry or room before the place is abandoned.

D. Entries or rooms shall not be started off an entry beyond the last open crosscut.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-59; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.224. Permanent stoppings.

A. Permanent stoppings shall be built and maintained:

1. Between intake and return air courses, except temporary controls may be used in rooms that are 600 feet or less from the centerline of the entry from which the room was developed. Unless otherwise approved by the Chief, these stoppings shall be maintained to and including the third connecting crosscut outby the working face.

2. To separate belt conveyor haulageways from return air courses except where belt entries are used as return air courses.

3. To separate the primary escapeway from belt and trolley haulage entries unless otherwise approved by the Chief.

4. In return air courses to direct air into adjacent worked-out areas.

B. Permanent stoppings shall be built of substantial, incombustible material such as concrete, concrete blocks, brick, tile, or other approved material; however, where physical conditions prohibit the use of such materials, timbers laid longitudinally "skin to skin" may be used.

C. The use of an air lock in the permanent intake stopping line near the section loading point shall be permitted to access the belt and transport supplies.

D. Stoppings shall be maintained to serve the purpose for which they were built and shall be reasonably air tight.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-59; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.225. Ventilation controls.

A. Ventilation shall be so arranged by means of air locks, overcasts, or undercasts that the passage of haulage trips or persons along the entries will not cause interruption of the air current. Air locks shall be ventilated sufficiently to prevent accumulations of methane therein.

B. Air lock doors that are used in lieu of permanent stoppings or to control ventilation within an air course shall be (i) made of noncombustible material or coated on all accessible surfaces with flame-retardant material having a flame spread index of 25 or less as tested under ASTM E 162-187 and (ii) of sufficient strength to serve their intended purpose of maintaining separation and permitting travel between or within air courses or entries.

C. To provide easy access between the return, belt and intake escapeway entries, substantially constructed man-doors properly marked so as to be readily detected shall be installed in at least every fifth crosscut in the stopping lines separating such entries.

D. Doors shall be kept closed except when miners or equipment is passing through the doorways. Motor crews and other miners who open doors shall see that the doors are closed before leaving them.

E. Overcasts, undercasts, and regulators shall be well constructed of incombustible material, such as masonry, concrete, concrete blocks, or prefabricated metal. They shall (i) be of sufficient strength to withstand possible falls from the roof, (ii) be of ample area to pass the required quantity of air, and (iii) be kept clear of obstructions.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-60; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.226. Line brattice.

A. Substantially constructed line brattice shall be used from the last open crosscut of an entry or room when necessary to provide adequate ventilation for the miners and to remove gases. Any line brattice damaged by falls or otherwise shall be repaired promptly.

B. The space between the line brattice and the rib shall be large enough to permit the flow of a sufficient volume of air to keep the working face clear of flammable and noxious gases.

C. Brattice cloth used underground shall be of flame-resistant material.

D. Accumulations of methane shall be moved only by means of properly installed line brattice, or other approved method.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-61; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.227. Ventilation with air from certain areas.

Active face workings shall not be ventilated with air that has passed through worked-out areas or has been used to ventilate pillar lines. This section shall not apply to air which is being used to ventilate an active pillar line and rooms which are necessary to establish and maintain the pillar line.

Code 1950, § 45-60.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-62; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.228. Worked-out areas.

A. All worked-out areas shall be either sealed or ventilated.

B. Where practice is to seal worked-out areas, the sealing shall be done in accordance with sealing provisions of the approved bleeder plan.

Code 1950, § 45-60.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-62; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.229. Air quality.

A. All active workings shall be ventilated by a current of air containing not less than 19.5 volume percent of oxygen and no harmful quantities of other noxious or poisonous gases.

B. The volume and velocity of the current of air in all active workings shall be sufficient to dilute, render harmless and carry away flammable, explosive, noxious and harmful gases and dust, smoke, and explosive fumes.

Code 1950, § 45-60.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-63; 1968, c. 310; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.230. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.231. Examination of mines for explosive gas and other hazardous conditions.

A. Certified persons whose regular duties require them to inspect working places in any mine for hazardous conditions shall have in their possession, and shall use, when underground, a permissible methane detector or other permissible device capable of detecting methane and oxygen deficiency.

B. A sufficient number of permissible methane detectors or other permissible devices capable of detecting methane shall be kept at each mine inby the last open crosscut. All miners shall be trained in the operation of the device. Any miners working inby the last open crosscut shall be certified by the Board of Coal Mining Examiners to conduct gas testing. Methane detectors or indicators shall be maintained in permissible condition.

C. Methane detectors or indicators shall be calibrated at least monthly in accordance with manufacturers recommendations. A record of such calibration shall be made in a book for this purpose kept at a surface location at the mine and maintained for one year.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-68.1, 45-69.7, 45-85.6; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-35, 45.1-65; 1978, cc. 118, 120; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.232. Tampering with methane monitoring devices prohibited; penalty.

A. No person shall intentionally disturb, disconnect, bypass, impair, or otherwise tamper with methane monitors or other devices capable of detecting the presence of explosive gases used in an underground coal mine. If the methane monitor is installed on a face cutting machine, continuous miner, longwall face equipment, loading machine, or other mechanized equipment used to extract or load coal as required pursuant to 30 CFR Part 75.342, and the monitor or the equipment malfunctions, the monitor may be disconnected or bypassed for the purposes of removing the monitor or the equipment in order to make necessary repairs to the monitor or the equipment. Any other methane monitor may be disconnected, bypassed or removed.

B. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

1993, c. 247, § 45.1-65.1; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.233. Allowing persons to work in mine where methane monitoring equipment disconnected; penalty.

An operator, agent, or mine foreman shall not knowingly permit any miner to work in any area of the underground coal mine where such operator, agent, or mine foreman has knowledge that a methane monitor or other device capable of detecting the presence of explosive gases has been impaired, disturbed, disconnected, or bypassed in violation of § 45.1-161.232. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

1993, c. 247, § 45.1-30.1; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.233:1. Intentionally bypassing safety devices; prohibition.

No person shall intentionally bypass, bridge, or otherwise impair an electrical or hydraulic circuit that affects the safe operation of electrical or mechanical equipment. This shall not prohibit (i) a certified electrical repairmen from by-passing energized circuits for troubleshooting; (ii) an authorized person from performing repairs or maintenance on equipment once the power is off and the equipment is blocked against motion except where motion is necessary to make adjustment or to move the equipment to a safe location; (iii) an authorized person from bypassing a hydraulic circuit for the purpose of troubleshooting or moving equipment to a safe location in order to make necessary repairs or be taken out of service; or (iv) an authorized person from activating an override feature that is designed by the machine manufacturer to allow the machine to be moved to a safe location in order to make necessary repairs or be taken out of service.

2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.234. Control of coal dust.

A. Coal dust shall not be permitted to accumulate excessively in any part of the active areas, including active workings soon to be worked-out.

B. Where mining operations create or raise an excessive amount of coal dust into the air, water or water with an added wetting agent, or other effective method of controlling dust approved by the Chief, or his authorized representative, shall be applied to coal dust on the ribs, roof, and floor to reduce dispersibility and to minimize the hazard of explosion, within forty feet from all active workings or such other areas as the Chief or his authorized representative shall require.

Code 1950, § 45-77.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-66; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.235. Rock dusting.

A. All underground areas of a mine, except those areas where the coal dust is too wet or too high in incombustible content to propagate an explosion, shall be rock dusted to within forty feet of all working faces, unless such areas are inaccessible or unsafe to enter or unless the Chief, or his authorized representative, permits an exception upon his finding that such exception will not pose a hazard to the miners. All crosscuts that are less than forty feet from working faces shall also be rock dusted.

B. All other areas of a mine shall be rock dusted if conditions are found to be so dusty as to constitute a hazard after proper inspection. Should such conditions be found to exist, the Chief, or his authorized representative, shall require the necessary rock dusting to make the areas of the mine safe.

C. Coal dust, including float coal dust deposited on rock-dusted surfaces, loose coal, and other combustible materials shall be cleaned up and not be permitted to accumulate excessively in active workings, or on electric equipment therein.

Code 1950, § 45-77; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-67; 1978, c. 120; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.236. Housekeeping; noxious fumes.

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 possible falling and rolling materials.

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

C. All surface mine structures, enclosures, and other facilities shall be maintained in good repair.

Code 1950, §§ 45-85.5, 45-85.8; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-34, 45.1-37; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.237. Lighting.

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

B. Roads, paths and walks outside of 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.

§ 45.1-161.238. Flammable or combustible materials.

A. Oil, grease, and similar flammable materials shall be kept in closed containers, separate from other materials so as not to create a fire hazard to nearby buildings or mines. If oil or grease is stored in a building, the building or room in which it is stored shall be of fireproof construction and well ventilated.

B. Oily rags, oily waste and wastepaper shall be kept in closed metal containers until removed for disposal.

C. The area within 100 feet of all mine openings shall be kept free of combustible material; however, this shall not apply to the temporary storage of not more than a one day's supply of such materials.

D. All 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. Any storage place for such materials shall be posted to prohibit smoking.

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

§ 45.1-161.239. Crane operations.

A crane operator shall at all times during any hazardous crane operation maintain visual or auditory communication with all persons involved in the crane operation.

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

§ 45.1-161.240. Controlling dust at surface.

A. In surface structures at excessively dusty mines, electric motors, switches, lighting fixtures, and controls shall be protected by dust-tight construction.

B. Surface structures and equipment shall be kept free of coal dust accumulations.

C. 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.

Code 1950, §§ 45-77, 45-85.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-34, 45.1-67; 1978, cc. 120, 729; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.241. Scaffolding and overhead protection.

Where repairs are being made to the plant, or where equipment or material is being used or transported overhead, proper scaffolding or proper overhead protection shall be provided.

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

§ 45.1-161.242. Welding and cutting.

Welding or cutting with arc or flame shall not be done in excessively dusty atmospheres or dusty locations. Fire-fighting apparatus shall be readily available when welding or cutting is performed.

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

§ 45.1-161.243. Fire prevention and fire control.

The provisions of Article 5 (§ 45.1-161.265 et seq.) of Chapter 14.4 of this title shall apply with respect to requirements for fire-fighting equipment, duties in the event of a fire, and fire precautions at the surface areas of underground coal mines.

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.

§ 45.1-161.244. Surface equipment.

The provisions of Article 6 (§ 45.1-161.268 et seq.) of Chapter 14.4 of this title shall apply with respect to equipment at the surface areas of underground coal mines.

1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.245. Travel ways, loading and haulage areas.

The provisions of Article 7 (§ 45.1-161.275 et seq.) of Chapter 14.4 of this title shall apply with respect to travel ways, loading, and haulage areas at the surface of underground coal mines.

1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.246. Electricity.

The provisions of Article 9 (§ 45.1-161.279 et seq.) of Chapter 14.4 of this title shall apply with respect to power lines, circuits, transformers, and other electric equipment at the surface areas of underground coal mines.

1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.247. Surface blasting.

The provisions of Article 10 (§ 45.1-161.284 et seq.) of Chapter 14.4 of this title shall apply with respect to explosives and blasting at the surface areas of underground coal mines.

1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.248. Ground control.

The provisions of Article 11 (§ 45.1-161.287) of Chapter 14.4 of this title shall apply with respect to the pits, highwalls, benches, banks, and walls associated with any coal mining activities conducted at the surface areas of underground coal mines.

1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.249. Duties of mine foreman.

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

B. The mine foreman shall see that every miner employed to work in such mine before beginning work therein, is aware of all hazardous conditions incident to his work in such mine. Any imminent danger that cannot be removed within a reasonable time shall be reported to the Chief by the quickest available means.

Code 1950, §§ 45-35, 45-40; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-17; 1978, c. 729; 1993, c. 170; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2015, cc. 103, 397.

§ 45.1-161.250. Employment and duties of top persons; plan for excavation of shaft or slope.

A. During the construction or modification of any shaft or slope mine, the person engaged in the actual construction or modification of such mine shall employ one or more certified top persons. It shall be the duty of such top person to examine for proper and safe practices and materials used during the construction or modification of a shaft or slope mine. Such duties shall at all times be performed in the immediate vicinity of the shaft under construction.

B. Prior to commencing the excavation of any shaft or slope, the operator shall submit to the Department a copy of the plan that includes the following: (i) the name and location of the mine and slope or shaft; (ii) a description of the work and methods to be used in the construction of the slope or shaft; (iii) a description of the methods to be used to ensure wall and roof stability; (iv) a description of the system of ventilation to be used including procedures for evacuation of the slope or shaft should a fan stoppage occur; (v) details of hoisting equipment to be used; and (vi) such other information as may be required by the Chief. The excavation of a shaft or slope shall not begin until the plan is approved by the Chief.

1980, c. 442, § 45.1-20.1; 1994, c. 28; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.251. Employment of inexperienced underground miners.

A. Inexperienced underground miners shall be required to work with an experienced underground miner for a total of at least six months following underground employment. However, experienced surface miners shall only be required to work with an experienced underground miner for a total of at least sixty days following underground employment.

B. No inexperienced underground miner shall be assigned, or allowed, or be required to perform work alone in any area where there is the potential to endanger his safety unless he can communicate with others, can be heard, or can be seen.

Code 1950, §§ 45-35, 45-40; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-17; 1978, c. 729; 1993, c. 170; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.252. Employment of authorized persons.

No miner shall be placed in charge of a cutting, loading, drilling, continuous miner, or timbering machine in any mine who is not an authorized person capable of determining the safety of the roof and ribs of the working places. Such miner shall also be capable of detecting the presence of explosive gas and shall be compelled to undergo examination by a mine inspector or other instructors who are certified by the Board of Coal Mining Examiners and authorized by the Chief to determine his fitness to detect explosive gas before being permitted to have charge of machines in such mines.

Code 1950, §§ 45-7, 45-12, 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, § 45.1-21; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 222, 489; 1982, c. 255; 1984, cc. 178, 590; 1988, c. 577; 1993, cc. 171, 442; 1994, c. 28; 2012, cc. 109, 241.

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.

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