Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 45.1. Mines and Mining
8/22/2019

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 45.1-161.7. Short title.

This chapter and Chapters 14.3 (§ 45.1-161.105 et seq.) and 14.4 (§ 45.1-161.253 et seq.) of this title shall be known as the "Coal Mine Safety Act."

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-1.10; 1994, c. 28; 1997, c. 390.

§ 45.1-161.8. Definitions.

As used in this chapter and in Chapters 14.3 (§ 45.1-161.105 et seq.) and 14.4 (§ 45.1-161.253 et seq.) of this title, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"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 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 coal or rock outburst that causes withdrawal of miners or which disrupts regular mining activity for more than one hour; (x) an unstable condition at an impoundment, refuse pile, or culm bank which requires emergency action in order to prevent failure, or which causes individuals to evacuate an area; or, failure of an impoundment, refuse pile or culm bank; (xi) damage to hoisting equipment in a shaft or slope which endangers an individual or which interferes with use of the equipment for more than 30 minutes; (xii) an event at a mine which causes death or bodily injury to an individual not at a mine at the time the event occurs; and (xiii) the unintentional fall of highwall that entraps equipment for more than 30 minutes.

"Active areas" means all places in a mine that are 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 the miners in a mine.

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

"Authorized person" means a person assigned by the operator or agent to perform a specific type of duty or duties or to be at a specific location or locations in the mine who is trained and has demonstrated the ability to perform such duty or duties safely and effectively.

"Auxiliary fan" means a supplemental underground fan installed to increase the volume of air to a specified location for the purpose of controlling dust, methane, or air quality.

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

"Certified person" means a person holding a valid certificate from the Board of Coal Mining Examiners authorizing him to perform the 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.

"Coal mine" means a surface coal mine or an underground coal mine.

"Coal Mine Safety Act" or "Act" shall mean this chapter and Chapters 14.3 (§ 45.1-161.105 et seq.) and 14.4 (§ 45.1-161.253 et seq.) of this title, and shall include any regulations promulgated thereunder, where applicable.

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

"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. 95-164), and regulations promulgated 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 equipment and earth or to some conducting body which serves in place of earth.

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

"Hazardous condition" means conditions that are likely to cause death or serious personal injury to persons exposed to such conditions.

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

"Inexperienced underground miner" means a person with less than six months of underground mining experience.

"Intake air" means air that has not passed through the last active working place of the split of any working section or any worked-out area whether pillared or nonpillared, and by analysis contains not less than nineteen and one-half percent oxygen nor more than one-half of one percent of carbon dioxide, nor any hazardous quantities of flammable gas nor any harmful amounts of poisonous gas.

"Interested persons" means members of the Mine Safety Committee and other duly authorized representatives of the employees at a mine; federal Mine Safety and Health Administration employees; mine inspectors; and, to the extent required by this Act, any other person.

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

"Mine" means any underground coal mine or surface coal mine. Mines that are adjacent to each other and under the same management and which are administered as distinct units shall be considered as separate mines. A site shall not be a mine unless the coal extracted or excavated therefrom is offered for sale or exchange, or used for any other commercial purposes. The area in which coal is excavated under an exemption to the permitting requirements of § 45.1-234 shall not be a mine.

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

"Mine foreman" means a person holding a valid certificate of qualification as a foreman duly issued by action of the Board of Coal Mining Examiners.

"Mine inspector" means a public employee assigned by the Chief or the Director to make mine inspections as required by this Act, and other applicable laws.

"Miner" means any individual working in a mine.

"Mineral" means clay, stone, sand, gravel, metalliferous and nonmetalliferous ores, and any other solid material or substance of commercial value excavated in solid form from natural deposits on or in the earth, exclusive of coal and those minerals which occur naturally in liquid or gaseous form.

"Monthly" means, unless otherwise stated, to have occurred any time during the period of the first through the last day of a calendar month.

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

"Panel entry" means a room entry.

"Permissible" means a device, process, or equipment or method heretofore or hereafter classified by such term by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, when such classification is adopted by the Chief or the Director, and includes, unless otherwise herein expressly stated, all requirements, restrictions, exceptions, limitations, and conditions attached to such classification by the Administration.

"Return air" means air that has passed through the last active working place on each split, or air that has passed through worked-out areas, whether pillared or nonpillared.

"Room entry" means any entry or set of entries from which rooms are turned.

"Serious personal injury" means any injury which has a reasonable potential to cause death or an injury other than a sprain or strain which 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 coal mine" means (i) the pit and other active and inactive areas of surface extraction of coal; (ii) on-site preparation plants, shops, tipples and related facilities appurtenant to the extraction and processing of coal; (iii) surface areas for the transportation and storage of coal extracted at the site; (iv) impoundments, retention dams, tailing ponds, and refuse disposal areas appurtenant to the extraction of coal from the site; (v) equipment, machinery, tools, and other property used in, or to be used in, the extraction of coal from the site; (vi) private ways and roads appurtenant to such area; and (vii) the areas used to prepare a site for surface coal extraction activities. A site shall commence being a surface coal mine upon the beginning of any site preparation activity other than exploratory drilling or other exploration activity that does not disturb the surface, and shall cease to be a surface coal mine upon completion of initial reclamation activities.

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

"Underground coal mine" means (i) the working face and other active and inactive areas of underground excavation of coal; (ii) underground travel ways, shafts, slopes, drifts, inclines, and tunnels connected to such areas; (iii) on-site preparation plants, shops, tipples and related facilities appurtenant to the excavation and processing of coal; (iv) on-site surface areas for the transportation and storage of coal excavated at the site; (v) impoundments, retention dams, and tailing ponds appurtenant to the excavation of coal from the site; (vi) equipment, machinery, tools, and other property, on the surface and underground, used in, or to be used in, the excavation of coal from the site; (vii) private ways and roads appurtenant to such area; (viii) the areas used to prepare a site for underground coal excavation activities; and (ix) areas used for the drilling of vertical ventilation holes. A site shall commence being an underground coal mine upon the beginning of any site preparation activity other than exploratory drilling or other exploration activity, and shall cease to be an underground coal mine upon completion of initial reclamation activities.

"Weekly" means, unless otherwise stated, to have occurred any time during the period of Sunday through Saturday of a calendar week.

"Work area," as used in Chapter 14.4 (§ 45.1-161.253 et seq.) of this title, means those areas of a surface coal mine in production or being prepared for production and those areas of the mine which may pose a danger to miners at such areas.

"Worked-out area" means an area where underground coal mining has been completed, whether pillared or nonpillared, excluding developing entries, return air courses and intake air courses.

"Working face" means any place in a mine in which work of extracting coal from its 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 all areas from the loading point of a section to and including the working faces.

Code 1950, § 45-0.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-2; 1975, c. 520; 1978, cc. 120, 489; 1980, c. 442; 1984, c. 590; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1997, c. 390; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.9. Safety and health.

In safety and health, all miners are to be governed by this Act and Chapter 18 (§ 45.1-221 et seq.) of this title, and any other sections of the Code relating to safety and health of miners and rules and regulations promulgated by the Department.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-1.7; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.10. Special safety rules.

The operator of every mine shall have the right to adopt special safety rules for the safety and operation of his mine or mines, covering the work pertaining thereto inside and outside of the same, which, however, shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this Act. Such rules, when established, shall be posted at some conspicuous place about the mines, where the rules may be seen by all miners at such mines, or in lieu thereof the operator shall furnish a printed copy of such rules to each of his miners.

Code 1950, § 45-87; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-31; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.11. Persons not permitted to work in mines.

A. No person under eighteen years of age shall be permitted to work in or around any mine, and in all cases of doubt, the operator, agent or mine foreman shall obtain a birth certificate or other documentary evidence, from the Registrar of Vital Statistics, or other authentic sources as to the age of such person.

B. No operator, agent or mine foreman shall make a false statement as to the age of any person under eighteen years of age applying for work in or around any mine.

Code 1950, § 45-16; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-32; 1972, c. 154; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.12. Prohibited acts by miners or other persons; miners to comply with law.

A. No miner or other person shall (i) knowingly damage any shaft, lamp, instrument, air course, or brattice or obstruct airways; (ii) carry in a mine any intoxicating liquors or controlled drugs without the prescription of a licensed physician; (iii) disturb any part of the machinery or appliances in a mine; (iv) open a door used for directing ventilation and fail to close it again; (v) enter any part of a mine against caution; or (vi) disobey any order issued pursuant to the provisions of this Act.

B. Each miner at any mine shall comply fully with the provisions of this Act and other mining laws of the Commonwealth that pertain to his duties.

C. Any individual shall, upon the order of the Chief, complete training that addresses the subject of any violation issued to the individual as a condition for abatement of the violation.

Code 1950, § 45-72; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-26; 1978, cc. 489, 729; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.13. Safety materials and supplies.

It shall be the duty of every operator or agent to keep on hand, at or within convenient distance, of each mine at all times a sufficient quantity of all materials and supplies required to preserve the safety of the miners, as required by this Act. If for any reason, the operator or agent cannot procure the necessary materials or supplies, he shall cause the miners to withdraw from the mine, or the portion thereof affected, until such material or supplies are received.

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.

§ 45.1-161.14. Notifying miners of violations; compliance with Act.

A. The operator and his agent shall cooperate with the mine foreman and other officials in the discharge of their duties as required by this Act, and shall direct that the mine foreman and all other miners employed at the mine comply with all provisions of this Act, especially when his attention is called to any violation of this Act by the Chief, the Director, or a mine inspector.

B. The operator of any mine or his agent shall operate his mines in full conformity with this Act and any other mining law of the Commonwealth at all times. This requirement shall not relieve any other person subject to the provisions of this Act from his duty to comply with the requirements of this Act.

C. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to relieve an operator or his agent from the duty imposed at common law to secure the reasonable safety of their employees.

D. No operator, agent, or certified person shall knowingly permit any person to work in any part of a mine in violation of written instructions issued by a mine inspector pursuant to this Act.

E. The operator or his agent shall fully comply with any action plan required by the Chief to address hazardous conditions or practices.

Code 1950, §§ 45-7, 45-8, 45-12, 45-68.4, 45-69, 45-73, 45-75, 45-78, 45-79, 45-81, 45-83 to 45-85; 1950, p. 156; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-21, 45.1-30, 45.1-104; 1972, c. 784; 1974, c. 323; 1975, c. 320; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 120, 222, 489, 729; 1982, cc. 118, 255; 1984, cc. 178, 590; 1988, c. 577; 1990, c. 963; 1993, cc. 171, 442; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

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

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