Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
6/21/2024

Part V. Guidelines for on-Site Examination of an Underground Mine Foreman

4VAC25-20-360. Purpose and scope.

A. Section 45.2-528 of the Code of Virginia provides for on-site examination of an underground mine foreman by a mine inspector to determine that the foreman has a thorough understanding of the roof control plan and ventilation for the area of the mine for which he is responsible. The procedures followed by the inspector in conducting an on-site examination of an underground mine foreman must be consistent with requirements in Part IV (4VAC25-20-340 et seq.) of this chapter. This includes the use of questions approved by the board which are administered in accordance with this chapter.

B. The purpose of examining an underground mine foreman is to measure and evaluate his knowledge and understanding of mine roof control and ventilation for the areas of his responsibility. Underground mine foremen are required to demonstrate this and other elements of mine safety when they become certified to act as mine foremen in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

C. An on-site examination by the mine inspector will only be initiated when there is just cause that the underground mine foreman has failed to maintain safe roof control and ventilation for his area of responsibility at the mine. Just cause for an on-site examination of an underground mine foreman by a mine inspector must be based on issuance of an order of closure or violation related to a hazardous condition pertaining to roof control or ventilation.

Statutory Authority

§ 45.2-103 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 22, eff. August 20, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 1, eff. October 19, 2017; Volume 38, Issue 13, eff. March 31, 2022.

4VAC25-20-370. Determination by the inspector to conduct an on-site examination.

A. An order of closure issued in accordance with § 45.2-569 of the Code of Virginia, or notice of violation issued in accordance with § 45.2-568 of the Code of Virginia that relate to roof control or ventilation hazards, shall be reviewed at the time it is issued for evidence of underground mine foreman negligence, which could require on-site examination of the mine foreman by the mine inspector. In making the determination whether or not to conduct an on-site examination, the mine inspector must establish the following:

1. The roof or ventilation hazards cited resulted from performing his duties with less than ordinary care. Ordinary care means the use of such care as a reasonably prudent and careful underground mine foreman could use under similar circumstances.

2. The underground mine foreman knew or should have known of the existence of the hazardous condition.

B. When these criteria have been established, the mine inspector will undertake an on-site examination of the underground mine foreman.

Statutory Authority

§ 45.2-103 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 22, eff. August 20, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 1, eff. October 19, 2017; Volume 38, Issue 13, eff. March 31, 2022.

4VAC25-20-380. Notification of intent to conduct an on-site examination.

A. The mine inspector will notify the underground mine foreman of an order of closure or notice of violation for a hazardous condition related to roof control or ventilation in the area of the foreman's responsibility. The inspector will let him know that he intends to invoke the provision of the law for an on-site examination of the foreman.

B. The following approach will be taken by the mine inspector in giving notice to the underground mine foreman:

1. The notification will be given by the inspector in private.

2. The inspector will be courteous and professional in explaining the reason for the on-site examination.

3. The inspector will explain the procedures he will follow in conducting the on-site examination.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.28 and 45.1-161.34 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 22, eff. August 20, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 1, eff. October 19, 2017.

4VAC25-20-390. Procedures for conducting on-site examination.

A. The on-site examination of the underground mine foreman will be handled in such a way as to not prevent the foreman from performing his duties. The on-site examination must be conducted, to the extent possible, immediately on arrival outside on the surface on the day the order of closure or notice of violation is issued.

B. These procedures will be followed in conducting the on-site examination:

1. The examination will be administered in a written format.

2. The mine inspector will choose the 10 questions from the approved pool related to the condition or practice being cited by the order of closure or notice of violation.

3. The underground mine foreman will be provided sufficient time to write out his answers to the questions. He may refer to plans or other information available to him. However, no other person may assist him in answering the questions. The mine inspector will remain with the mine foreman during the written examination.

4. The mine inspector will read the questions being asked to the underground mine foreman if requested and should answer any questions from the mine foreman which could help to clarify his understanding of the questions.

5. The underground mine foreman may respond to the questions orally. In this case, the mine inspector will record the response of the mine foreman to each question on the examination form, have the foreman sign the form as accurately representing the response, and provide the mine foreman a copy promptly upon completion.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.28 and 45.1-161.34 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 22, eff. August 20, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 20, Issue 23, eff. August 25, 2004; Volume 34, Issue 1, eff. October 19, 2017.

4VAC25-20-400. Results of the on-site examination.

A. The mine inspector will promptly check the responses given by the underground mine foreman for each of the 10 questions asked. At least eight of the 10 questions must be answered correctly to successfully complete the on-site examination. The results of the on-site examination will be reviewed promptly with the underground mine foreman. A copy of the written on-site examination competed by the underground mine foreman will be provided to him promptly by the mine inspector.

B. The circumstances related to the on-site examination of the underground mine foreman, including pass or fail results, will be described in the inspector's report, and will be reviewed as part of the closeout of the scheduled inspection activity for the mine.

C. The chief will notify the underground mine foreman and mine operator in writing of the petition to the BCME for a formal hearing. Should a petition for a hearing be requested, the hearing would be conducted in accordance with Part VI (4VAC25-20-410 et seq.) of this chapter.

D. If an underground mine foreman successfully appeals a violation which resulted in an on-site evaluation and further establishes to the BCME that he had a thorough knowledge of such plans, then the failure of the on-site examination shall not be used in any other revocation against the foreman.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.28 and 45.1-161.34 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 13, Issue 22, eff. August 20, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 1, eff. October 19, 2017.

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