Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 5. Coal Mine Safety Act

§ 45.2-556. Operators' reports of accidents; investigations; reports by Department.

A. Each operator shall report promptly to the Department the occurrence at any mine of any accident. The scene of the accident shall not be disturbed pending an investigation, except to the extent necessary to rescue or recover a person, prevent or eliminate an imminent danger, prevent destruction of mining equipment, or prevent suspension of use of a slope, entry, or facility vital to the operation of a section or a mine. In a case in which reasonable doubt exists as to whether to leave the scene unchanged, the operator shall secure prior approval from the Department before any changes are made.

B. The Chief shall go personally or dispatch one or more mine inspectors to the scene of such a coal mine accident, investigate causes, and issue such orders as may be needed to ensure safety of other persons.

C. Representatives of the operator shall render assistance as needed and act in a consulting capacity in the investigation. An employee, if so designated by the employees of the mine, shall be notified and as many as three employees, if so designated as representatives of the employees, may be present at the investigation in a consulting capacity.

D. The Chief shall require substance abuse testing as part of an inspection or complaint investigation if there is reasonable cause to suspect a miner's impairment, due to the presence of intoxicants or any controlled substance not used in accordance with the prescription of a licensed prescriber, has been a contributing factor to any accident in which a serious personal injury or death has occurred at a mine. The Chief shall require substance abuse testing of any miner killed or seriously injured and of any other person who might have contributed to the accident. Any substance abuse testing required by the Chief shall be paid for by the Department. Refusal by any miner to submit to substance abuse testing, or the failure to pass such a test, shall result in the immediate temporary suspension of all certificates held by the miner, pending a hearing before the Board of Coal Mining Examiners.

E. The Department shall render a complete report of circumstances and causes of each accident investigated and make recommendations for the prevention of similar accidents. The Department shall furnish one copy of the report to the operator and one copy to an employee representative if one was present at the investigation. The Chief shall maintain a complete file of all accident reports for coal mines and provide further dissemination as ordered by the Director in an effort to prevent mine accidents.

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, § 45.1-161.78; 1997, c. 390; 1999, c. 256; 2007, cc. 894, 914; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

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