Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 8. Requirements Applicable to Underground Coal Mines; Electricity, Safety, Etc.
5/23/2024

§ 45.2-826. Pre-shift examinations.

A. The operator or his agent shall establish eight-hour intervals of time, each of which shall be subject to a required pre-shift examination. Within three hours preceding the beginning of any such eight-hour interval during which any person is scheduled to work or travel underground, a mine foreman shall make a pre-shift examination. No person scheduled to enter the mine during the eight-hour interval, other than the mine foreman who is conducting the examination, shall 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 each of the following underground locations:

1. Every track entry or other area where persons are scheduled to work or travel during the oncoming shift;

2. Every belt conveyor that will be used to transport persons during the oncoming shift and the entry in which each such belt conveyor is located;

3. Any working section or area where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed if a person is scheduled to work on the section or in the area during the oncoming shift. Such a working section or area includes each working place and each approach to a worked-out area, and ventilation controls on each such section or in each such area;

4. Each approach to a worked-out area along an intake air course if intake air passes by such worked-out area to ventilate any working section where a person is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift;

5. Every seal along an intake air course where intake air passes by such seal to ventilate any working section where a person is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift;

6. Where intake air passes through or by an entry or room to any working section where a person is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift, each such entry or room that is driven (i) more than 20 feet off an intake air course without a crosscut or permanent ventilation controls or (ii) more than two crosscuts off an intake air course without permanent ventilation controls; and

7. Where unattended diesel equipment is expected to operate or an area in which 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 such area during the oncoming shift:

1. In the last open crosscut of each set of entries or rooms on each working section or any area in which mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed;

2. On each longwall or shortwall in each intake entry at the intake end of the longwall or shortwall face immediately outby the face. The mine foreman shall also determine 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) in the intake entry furthest from the return air course, immediately outby the first open crosscut outby the line of pillars being mined, if a single split of air is used or (ii) in the intake entries of each split, immediately inby the split point, if a split system is used.

D. A mine foreman shall make a pre-shift examination of the surface areas of an underground coal mine in accordance with the requirements for pre-shift examinations at surface coal mines as provided in § 45.2-903.

E. The Chief may require the mine foreman to examine other areas of the mine or to 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 located where anyone entering the area would pass. Only a person designated by the operator or his agent to correct or evaluate the condition shall enter such posted area.

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

H. Each idle or worked-out area 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 place. A certified person shall supervise the correction of any condition that creates an imminent danger. The mine operator or his agent shall not pass beyond the danger sign except in cases of necessity.

I. If no person has been working underground before an established eight-hour interval, no person other than a mine foreman conducting a pre-shift examination shall enter the mine until the examination has been completed and the mine foreman reports that the mine is clear of danger; however, miners may enter under the direction of a mine foreman for the purpose of making the mine safe. The Chief may, in certain mines, authorize mantrips to proceed to a designated station underground, from which no mantrip shall leave until a mine foreman reports that the remainder of the areas of the mine are clear of danger.

J. Miners who are 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 a multiple-shift operation, certified persons may be used to make the pre-shift examination for the next or succeeding shift.

L. Immediately before any miner is permitted to enter an area of an inactive underground coal mine in order to take emergency actions to preserve the mine, a mine foreman shall examine such area for gas and other hazardous conditions.

M. In the performance of his duties under this section, the mine foreman shall have no superior officer, and every miner 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, § 45.1-161.208; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 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.