Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
3/26/2017

Requirements Applicable to Underground Mineral Mines

§ 45.1-161.293. Scope of chapter.

This chapter shall be applicable to the operation of any underground mineral mine in the Commonwealth, and shall supplement the provisions of Chapter 14.4:1 (§ 45.1-161.292:1 et seq.).

1994, c. 28; 1997, c. 390.

§ 45.1-161.294. Regulations governing conditions and practices at underground mineral mines.

A. The Director shall promulgate rules and regulations, in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act, necessary to ensure the safety and health of miners and other persons and property at underground mineral mines in the Commonwealth. Nothing in this section shall restrict the Director from promulgating regulations more stringent than regulations promulgated pursuant to the federal mine safety law. Such rules and regulations applicable to underground mineral mines shall establish requirements:

1. For protecting miners from general risks found at underground mineral mines and mining;

2. For the provision and use of personal protection equipment and devices for the head, feet, hands, and body;

3. For the maintenance, operation, storage, and transportation of mechanical or electrical equipment, devices, and machinery used in the underground mining of minerals;

4. For controlling unstable roof, rib, wall and other ground conditions;

5. For the handling and storage of combustible materials, including requirements for emergency plans, fire fighting and emergency rescue, fire prevention and safety features on mine equipment, fire safety in mine structures and other areas, and other flame and spark hazards;

6. For the control of exposure to airborne contaminants and excessive noise levels;

7. For adequate air quality through ventilation and other appropriate measures;

8. For the safe storage, transportation, and use of explosive and blasting devices;

9. For the safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of drilling equipment;

10. For the construction, installation, maintenance, use and inspection of boilers, air compressors, and compressed gas systems;

11. For the safe design, use, maintenance, and inspection of passageways, walkways, ladders, and other travel ways;

12. For the safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of electrical equipment and systems;

13. For the storage, transportation, and handling of materials, including corrosive and hazardous substances;

14. For the safe design, use, maintenance, and inspection of guards on moving parts of equipment and machinery;

15. For the safe design and operation of chutes;

16. For the inspection, maintenance, safe design, and operation of hoisting equipment and cables;

17. For the inspection, maintenance, and construction of mine shafts;

18. For the actions of certified and competent persons; and

19. For the safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of, and the conduct of mining activities at, surface areas of underground mineral mines.

B. The Director shall not promulgate any regulations relating to underground mineral mines which are inconsistent with requirements established by the Act, or which, when an operator takes action to comply with the provisions of such regulation, would place the operator in violation of the federal mine safety law.

1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1998, c. 695.

§ 45.1-161.295. Standards for regulations.

In promulgating rules and regulations pursuant to § 45.1-161.294, the Director shall consider:

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

2. Standards established by recognized professional mineral 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 a reasonable degree of safety protection, including the latest available scientific data in the field, the technical and economic 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 affected by underground mineral mines or related operations.

1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.296. Mining in proximity to gas and oil wells.

A. The Director shall promulgate regulations requiring licensed operators to notify, and in appropriate circumstances obtain the consent of, the Director prior to removing minerals in the proximity of any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled.

B. Any licensed operator who plans to remove any mineral, drive any passage or entry or extend any workings in any mine closer than 500 feet to any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled shall file with the Director a notice that mining is taking place or will take place, together with a copy of parts of the maps and plans required under § 45.1-161.292:37, which show the mine workings and projected mine workings which are within 500 feet of the well. The licensed 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 sender that he has complied with these requirements.

C. Subsequent to the filing of the notice, the licensed operator may proceed with mining operations in accordance with the maps and plans; however, without the prior approval of the Director, he shall not remove any material, drive any entry, or extend any workings in any mine closer than 200 feet to any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled. Each licensed 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 well operator shall have standing to object to any petition filed under this section. Such objections shall be filed within ten days following the date such petition is filed.

1990, c. 92, § 45.1-92.1; 1994, c. 28; 1997, c. 390; 1998, c. 695.

§ 45.1-161.297. Flame safety lamps.

Flame safety lamps shall not be used for detecting methane. The Director shall determine whether flame safety lamps shall constitute approved devices for detecting oxygen deficiency. If flame safety lamps are approved for such purpose, the Director shall establish standards for their use and maintenance.

Code 1950, § 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-64; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.298. Transportation of miners.

A. The Director shall promulgate regulations regarding (i) the carrying of tools by miners on man-trips; (ii) the riding of miners, except the motorman and trip rider, inside the cars; and (iii) the boarding and unboarding of miners to and from man-trips.

B. Until final regulations promulgated by the Director pursuant to subsection A become effective, the following standards shall apply to the matters to be addressed by such regulations:

1. Each man-trip shall be operated independently of any loaded trip of minerals or other material;

2. All miners, except the motorman and trip rider, shall ride inside the cars; and

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

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

§ 45.1-161.299. Bare wires and cables.

A. The Director shall promulgate regulations requiring bare wires, and cables other than ground wires, grounded power wires, and trailing cables to be supported by insulators and away from combustible materials, roof, and ribs.

B. Until final regulations promulgated by the Director pursuant to subsection A become effective, 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 requirement shall not apply to ground wires, grounded power conductors, and trailing cables.

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

§ 45.1-161.300. Use of track as electrical power conductor.

A. The Director shall promulgate regulations regarding the bonding, welding, or securing of rails and track switches where track is used to conduct electrical power.

B. Until final regulations promulgated by the Director pursuant to subsection A become effective, the following standards shall apply 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.

3. Track switches on entries shall be well bonded.

4. Rails shall not be used as power conductors in rooms.

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

§ 45.1-161.301. Disconnecting switches.

A. The Director shall promulgate regulations requiring the installation of disconnecting switches underground in all main power circuits at appropriate locations.

B. Until the final regulations promulgated by the Director pursuant to subsection A become effective, disconnecting switches shall be installed underground (i) in all main power circuits within approximately 500 feet of the bottoms of shafts and boreholes, and (ii) at other places where main power circuits enter the mine.

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

§ 45.1-161.302. Respiratory equipment and ear protectors.

A. The Director shall promulgate regulations requiring (i) miners exposed for short periods to hazards from inhalation of gas, dust, or fumes to wear approved respiratory equipment and (ii) operators to supply ear protectors to miners upon request.

B. Until the final regulations promulgated by the Director pursuant to subsection A become effective, (i) miners exposed for short periods to hazards from inhaling gas, dust, or fumes shall wear approved respiratory equipment and (ii) ear protectors shall be supplied by the operator to all miners upon request.

Code 1950, § 45-86; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-99; 1978, c. 729, § 45.1-99.1; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.303. Fire precautions in transportation of mining equipment.

A. The Director shall promulgate regulations requiring fire precautions be taken when mining equipment is transported underground in proximity to energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires.

B. Until the final regulations promulgated by the Director pursuant to subsection A become effective, the following standards shall apply to the transportation of mining equipment underground:

1. 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 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.

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

3. 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.

4. The frames of off-track mining equipment being moved or transported, in accordance with this subsection, shall be covered on the top and on the trolley wire side with fire-resistant material, where appropriate as determined by the Director.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 seam of minerals does not permit twelve inches of vertical clearance to be so maintained, the following additional precautions shall be taken:

a. 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;

b. 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;

c. At all times 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 in direct communication with persons actually engaged in the moving or transporting operation, and capable of communicating with the authorized person on the surface required to be on duty;

d. Where trolley phones are utilized to satisfy the requirements of paragraph c of this subdivision, 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

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

The provisions of subdivisions 1 through 8 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.

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