Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 45.1. Mines and Mining
8/25/2019

Article 7. Mine Explosions; Mine Fires; Accidents.

§ 45.1-161.77. Reports of explosions and mine fires; procedure.

A. If an explosion or mine fire occurs in a mine, the operator shall notify the Department by the quickest available means. All facilities of the mine shall be made available for rescue and recovery operations and firefighting.

B. No work other than rescue and recovery work and firefighting may be attempted or started until and unless it is authorized by the Department.

C. If an explosion occurs in an underground mine, the fan shall not be reversed except by authority of the officials in charge of rescue and recovery work, and then only after a study of the effect of reversing the fan on any persons who may have survived the explosion and are still underground.

D. The Department shall make available all the facilities at its disposal in effecting rescue and recovery work. The Chief shall act as consultant, or take personal charge, where in his opinion the circumstances of any mine explosion, fire or other accident warrant.

E. The orders of the official in charge of rescue and recovery work shall be respected and obeyed by all persons engaged in rescue and recovery work.

F. The Chief shall maintain an up-to-date rescue and recovery plan for prompt and adequate employment at any coal mine in the Commonwealth. All employees of the Department shall be kept fully informed and trained in their respective duties in executing rescue and recovery plans. The Department's plan shall be reviewed annually. Any changes in the plan shall be published promptly and made available to all operators of mines.

Code 1950, § 45-14; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-6; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28; 1997, c. 390; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.78. Operators' reports of accidents; investigations; reports by Department.

A. Each operator will 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 cases where reasonable doubt exists as to whether to leave the scene unchanged, the operator will secure prior approval from the Department before any changes are made.

B. The Chief will 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 will render such assistance as may be needed and act in a consulting capacity in the investigation. An employee if so designated by the employees of the mine will 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, or has been a contributing factor to any accident in which a serious personal injury or death occurs at a mine. The Chief shall require substance abuse testing of any miner killed or seriously injured and of any other person who may have contributed to the accident. Any substance abuse testing required by the Chief will 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, pending hearing before the Board of Coal Mining Examiners.

E. The Department will render a complete report of circumstances and causes of each accident investigated, and make recommendations for the prevention of similar accidents. The Department will furnish one copy of the report to the operator, and one copy to the employee representative when he has been present at the investigation. The Chief shall maintain a complete file of all accident reports for coal mines, and shall give such further publicity as may be 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; 1997, c. 390; 1999, c. 256; 2007, cc. 894, 914.

§ 45.1-161.79. Reports of other accidents and injuries.

A. Each miner employed at a mine shall promptly notify his supervisor of any injury received during the course of his employment.

B. Each operator shall keep on file a report of each accident including any accident which does not result in a lost-time injury. Copies of such report shall be given to the person injured or to his designated representative to review the accident report and verify its accuracy prior to filing such report for the review of state or federal mine inspectors.

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.

§ 45.1-161.80. Duties of mine inspectors.

Each mine inspector shall:

1. Report immediately, and by the quickest available means, any mine fire, mine explosion, and any accident involving serious personal injury or death to his supervisor;

2. Proceed immediately to the scene of any accident at any mine under his jurisdiction that results in loss of life or serious personal injury, and to the scene of any mine fire or explosion regardless of whether there is loss of life or personal injury. He shall make such investigation and suggestions and render such assistance as he deems necessary for the future safety of the employees, and make a complete report to his supervisor as soon as practicable; and

3. Provide assistance to mine rescue and recovery operations whenever a mine fire, mine explosion, or other serious accident occurs, and shall monitor the reopening of all mines or sections thereof that have been sealed or abandoned on account of fire or any other cause in accordance with a plan approved by the Chief.

Code 1950, §§ 45-4.1, 45-7, 45-9, 45-12, 45-68.4, 45-69, 45-73, 45-74, 45-75, 45-78, 45-79, 45-81, 45-83; 1950, p. 156; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-5, 45.1-21; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 120, 222, 489; 1982, c. 255; 1984, cc. 178, 236, 590; 1985, c. 448; 1987, c. 470; 1988, c. 577; 1990, c. 963; 1993, cc. 171, 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 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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