Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 11. Mineral Mine Safety Act
10/19/2021

§ 45.2-1101. (Effective October 1, 2021) Definitions.

As used in the Mineral Mine Safety Act and in regulations adopted under the Act, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Abandoned area" means the inaccessible area of an underground mine that is sealed or ventilated and in which further mining is not intended.

"Accident" means (i) a death of an individual at a mine; (ii) a serious personal injury; (iii) an entrapment of an individual for more than 30 minutes; (iv) an unplanned inundation of a mine by liquid or gas; (v) an unplanned ignition or explosion of gas or dust; (vi) an unplanned mine fire not extinguished within 30 minutes of discovery; (vii) an unplanned ignition or explosion of a blasting agent or an explosive; (viii) an unplanned roof fall at or above the anchorage zone in active workings where roof bolts are in use, or an unplanned roof or rib fall in active workings that impairs ventilation or impedes passage; (ix) a rock outburst that causes withdrawal of miners or that disrupts regular mining activity for more than one hour; (x) an unstable condition at a water or silt retaining dam or mine refuse pile that requires emergency action in order to prevent failure or causes individuals to evacuate an area, or failure of such retaining dam or refuse pile; (xi) damage to hoisting equipment in a shaft or slope that endangers an individual or interferes with use of the equipment for more than 30 minutes; and (xii) an event at a mine that causes death or serious personal injury to any individual not at a mine at the time the event occurs.

"Active area" means any place in a mine that is ventilated, if underground, and examined regularly.

"Active workings" means any place in a mine where miners are normally required to work or travel.

"Agent" means any person charged by the operator with responsibility for the operation of all or a part of a mine or the supervision of miners in a mine.

"Approved" means, with reference to a device, apparatus, equipment, condition, method, course, or practice, approved in writing by the Director.

"Approved competent person" means a person with more than two years of experience designated by the Department as having the authority to function as a mine foreman even though the person has less than five years of experience. If an approved competent person meets all the criteria for certification as a mine foreman other than the experience criteria, he may perform the duties of a mine foreman except the pre-shift examination.

"Armored cable" means a cable provided with a wrapping of metal, plastic, or other approved material.

"Authorized person" means a person who is assigned by the operator or agent to perform a specific type of duty or to be at a specific location in the mine and is task-trained in accordance with requirements of the federal mine safety law.

"Blower fan" means a fan with tubing used to direct part of a particular circuit of air to a working place.

"Booster fan" means an underground fan installed in conjunction with a main fan to increase the volume of air in one or more circuits.

"Cable" means (i) a stranded conductor, known as single-conductor cable, or (ii) a combination of conductors insulated from one another, known as multiple-conductor cable.

"Certified person" means a person who holds a valid certificate from the Department authorizing him to perform the particular task to which he is assigned.

"Circuit" means a conducting part or a system of conducting parts through which an electric current is intended to flow.

"Circuit breaker" means a device for interrupting a circuit between separable contacts under normal or abnormal conditions.

"Competent person" means a person having abilities and experience that fully qualify him to perform the particular duty to which he is assigned.

"Cross entry" means any entry or set of entries, turned from main entries, from which room entries are turned.

"Division" means the Division of Mineral Mining.

"Experienced surface miner" means a person with more than six months of experience working at a surface mine or the surface area of an underground mine.

"Experienced underground miner" means a person with more than six months of underground mining experience.

"Federal mine safety law" means the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (P.L. 91-173, as amended by P.L. 95-164) and regulations adopted thereunder.

"Fuse" means an overcurrent protective device with a circuit-opening fusible member directly heated and destroyed by the passage of overcurrent through it.

"Ground" means a conducting connection between an electric circuit or electrical equipment and earth or some conducting body that serves in place of earth.

"Grounded" means connected to earth or to some connecting body that serves in place of earth.

"Hazardous condition" means a condition that is likely to cause death or serious personal injury to a person exposed to such condition.

"Imminent danger" means the existence of any condition or practice in a mine that could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious personal injury before such condition or practice can be abated.

"Inactive mine" means a mine (i) at which (a) coal or minerals have not been excavated or processed or (b) work, other than examination by a certified person or emergency work to preserve the mine, has not been performed for a period of 30 days at an underground mine or for a period of 60 days at a surface mine; (ii) for which a valid license is in effect; and (iii) at which reclamation activities have not been completed.

"Independent contractor" means any person who contracts to perform services or construction at a mine.

"Intake air" means air that has not passed through the last active working place of the split or by the unsealed entrance to an abandoned area and by analysis contains at least 19.5 percent oxygen and not more than 0.5 percent carbon dioxide and does not contain a hazardous quantity of flammable gas or a harmful quantity of poisonous gas.

"Interested persons" means members of the mine safety committee and other duly authorized representatives of the employees at a mine, MSHA employees, mine inspectors, and, to the extent required by the Act, any other person.

"Licensed operator" means the operator who has obtained the license for a particular mine under § 45.2-1124.

"Main entry" means the principal entry or set of entries driven through the coal bed or mineral deposit and from which cross entries, room entries, or rooms are turned.

"Mine" means any underground mineral mine or surface mineral mine. Mines that are adjacent to each other and under the same management and that are administered as distinct units are considered separate mines. A site is not considered a mine unless the mineral extracted or excavated from it is offered for sale or exchange or used for any other commercial purpose.

"Mine fire" means an unplanned fire not extinguished within 30 minutes of discovery.

"Mine foreman" means a person who holds a valid certificate of qualification as a foreman issued by the Department.

"Mine inspector" means a public employee assigned by the Director to make mine inspections as required by the Mineral Mine Safety Act or other applicable law.

"Miner" means any individual working in a mineral mine.

"Mineral" means clay, stone, sand, gravel, metalliferous or nonmetalliferous ore, or any other solid material or substance of commercial value excavated in solid form from a natural deposit on or in the earth, exclusive of coal and any mineral that occurs naturally in liquid or gaseous form.

"Mineral mine" means a surface mineral mine or an underground mineral mine.

"Mineral Mine Safety Act" or "the Act" means this chapter and Chapters 14 (§ 45.2-1400 et seq.) and 15 (§ 45.2-1500 et seq.) and includes any regulations adopted thereunder, where applicable.

"Mine Safety and Health Administration" or "MSHA" means the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

"Operator" means any person who operates, controls, or supervises a mine or any independent contractor performing services or construction at a mine.

"Panel entry" means a room entry.

"Permissible" means any device, process, equipment, or method classified at any time as permissible by MSHA, when such classification is adopted by the Director. "Permissible" includes, unless otherwise herein expressly stated, any requirement, restriction, exception, limitation, or condition attached to such classification by MSHA.

"Return air" means air that has passed through (i) the last active working place on each split or (ii) an abandoned or worked-out area. No area within a panel shall be deemed abandoned until it is inaccessible or sealed.

"Room entry" means any entry or set of entries from which a room is turned.

"Serious personal injury" means any injury that (i) has a reasonable potential to cause death or (ii) is other than a sprain or strain and requires an admission to a hospital for 24 hours or more for medical treatment.

"Substation" means an electrical installation containing generating or power-conversion equipment and associated electric equipment and parts, such as switchboards, switches, wiring, fuses, circuit breakers, compensators, and transformers.

"Surface mineral mine" means (i) the pit and any other active or inactive area of surface extraction of minerals; (ii) any onsite mill, shop, loadout facility, or related structure appurtenant to the excavation and processing of minerals; (iii) any impoundment, water or silt retaining dam, tailing pond, mine refuse pile, or other area appurtenant to the extraction of minerals from the site; (iv) any onsite surface area for the transportation or storage of minerals excavated at the site; (v) equipment, machinery, tools, and other property used in, or to be used in, the work of extracting minerals from the site; (vi) any private way or road appurtenant to such area; and (vii) any area used for surface-disturbing exploration, other than by drilling or seismic testing, or for preparation of a site for surface mineral extraction activity. A site shall commence being a surface mineral mine upon the beginning of any surface-disturbing exploration activity other than exploratory drilling or seismic testing and shall cease to be a surface mineral mine upon completion of initial reclamation activities. The surface extraction of a mineral shall not constitute surface mineral mining unless the mineral (a) is extracted for its unique or intrinsic characteristics or (b) requires processing prior to its intended use.

"Travel way" means a passage, walk, or way regularly used and designated for persons to use in going from one place to another.

"Underground mineral mine" means (i) the working face and any other active or inactive area of underground excavation of minerals; (ii) any underground travel way, shaft, slope, drift, incline, or tunnel connected to such area; (iii) any onsite mill, loadout area, shop, or related facility appurtenant to the excavation and processing of minerals; (iv) any onsite surface area for the transportation or storage of minerals excavated at the site; (v) any impoundment, retention dam, tailing pond, or waste area appurtenant to the excavation of minerals from the site; (vi) equipment, machinery, tools, and other property, on the surface or underground, used in, or to be used in, the excavation of minerals from the site; (vii) any private way or road appurtenant to such area; and (viii) any area used to prepare a site for underground mineral excavation activities. A site commences being an underground mineral mine upon the beginning of any site preparation activity other than exploratory drilling or other exploration activity and ceases to be an underground mineral mine upon completion of initial reclamation activities.

"Work area," as used in Chapter 9 (§ 45.2-900 et seq.), means an area of a mine in production or being prepared for production or an area of a mine that may pose a danger to miners at such area in production or being prepared for production.

"Working face" means any place in a mine in which work of extracting minerals from their natural deposit in the earth is performed during the mining cycle.

"Working place" means the area of an underground mine inby the last open crosscut.

"Working section" means the portion of a mine encompassing all areas from the loading point of a section to and including the working faces.

1997, c. 390, § 45.1-161.292:2; 1998, c. 695; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 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.