Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.1. Mines and Mining
Chapter 14.3. Requirements Applicable to Underground Coal Mines
7/25/2021

Article 11. Electricity.

§ 45.1-161.181. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Surface electrical installations.

A. Overhead high-potential power lines shall be placed at least fifteen feet above the ground and twenty feet above driveways, shall be installed on insulators, and shall be supported and guarded to prevent contact with other circuits.

B. Surface transmission lines including trolley circuits shall be protected against short circuits and lightning. Each power circuit that leads underground shall be equipped with lightning arrestors within 100 feet of where the circuit enters the mine.

C. Electric wiring in surface buildings shall be installed so as to prevent fire and contact hazards.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-75; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.182. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Surface transformers.

A. Surface transformers which are not isolated by elevation of eight feet or more above the ground shall be enclosed in a transformer house or surrounded by a suitable fence at least six feet high. If the enclosure or fence is of metal, it shall be grounded effectively. The door to the enclosure or the gate to the fence shall be kept locked at all times unless persons authorized to enter the gate or enclosure are present.

B. Surface transformers containing flammable oil and installed near mine openings, in or near combustible buildings, or at other places where they present a fire hazard shall be provided with means to drain or to confine the oil in the event of rupture of the transformer casing.

Code 1950, § 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-76; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.183. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Underground transformers.

All transformers used underground shall be air-cooled or filled with nonflammable liquid or inert gas.

Code 1950, § 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-76; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.184. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Stations and substations.

A. Suitable danger signs shall be posted conspicuously at all transformer stations.

B. All transformer stations, substations, battery-charging stations, pump stations, and compressor stations shall be kept free of nonessential combustible materials and refuse.

C. Reverse-current protection shall be provided at storage-battery-charging stations to prevent the storage batteries from energizing the power circuits in the event of power failure.

Code 1950, §§ 45-60.4, 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-76, 45.1-77; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.185. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.186. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Power circuits.

A. All underground power wires and cables shall have adequate current-carrying capacity, shall be guarded from mechanical injury, and shall be installed in a permanent manner.

B. Wires and cables not encased in armor shall be supported by well installed insulators and shall not touch combustible materials, roof, or ribs; however, this shall not apply to ground wires, grounded power conductors, and trailing cables.

C. Power wires and cables installed in belt-haulage slopes shall be insulated adequately and buried in a trench not less than 12 inches below combustible material, unless encased in armor or otherwise fully protected against mechanical injury.

D. Splices and repairs in power cables shall be made in accordance with the following:

1. Mechanically strong with adequate electrical conductivity;

2. Effectively insulated and sealed so as to exclude moisture;

3. If the cable has metallic armor, mechanical protection and electrical conductivity equivalent to that of the original armor; and

4. If the cable has metallic shielding around each conductor, then the new shielding shall be equivalent to that of the original shielding.

E. All underground high-voltage transmission cables shall be:

1. Installed only in regularly inspected airways;

2. Covered, buried, or placed on insulators so as to afford protection against damage by derailed equipment if installed along the haulage road;

3. Guarded where miners regularly work or pass under them unless they are 6 1/2 feet or more above the floor or rail;

4. Securely anchored, properly insulated, and guarded at ends; and

5. Covered, insulated or placed to prevent contact with trolley circuits and other low-voltage circuits.

F. New high-voltage disconnects installed on all underground electrical equipment shall automatically ground all three power leads when in the open position. All high-voltage disconnects that are rebuilt or remanufactured after July 1, 2011, shall meet this standard.

G. All power wires and cables shall be insulated adequately where they pass into or out of electrical compartments and where they pass through doors and stoppings.

H. Where track is used as a power conductor:

1. Both rails of main-line tracks shall be welded or bonded at every joint, and cross bonds shall be installed at intervals of not more than 200 feet. If the rails are paralleled with a feeder circuit of like polarity, such paralleled feeder shall be bonded to the track rails at intervals of not more than 1,000 feet;

2. At least one rail on secondary track-haulage roads shall be welded or bonded at every joint, and cross bonds shall be installed at intervals of not more than 200 feet; and

3. Track switches on entries shall be well bonded.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.187. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Trolley wires and feeder wires.

A. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be installed on the side of the entry opposite the clearance space and shelter holes, except where the wires are guarded or 6 1/2 feet or more above the top of the rail.

B. Trolley-wire hangers shall be so spaced that the wire may become detached from any one hanger without creating a shock hazard.

C. Trolley wires shall be aligned properly and installed on insulated hangers at least six inches outside the rail.

D. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be provided with cut-out switches at intervals of not more than 1,500 feet and near the beginning of all branch lines.

E. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be kept taut and not permitted to touch the roof, ribs, timbers or any combustible material.

F. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be guarded adequately at both sides of doors and at all places where it is necessary to work or pass under them, unless they are more than six and one-half feet above the top of the rail.

G. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall not extend beyond any open crosscut between intake and return airways, and shall be kept at least 150 feet from any active, open pillar workings.

H. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be guarded, anchored securely, and insulated properly at the ends.

I. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be installed only in intake air.

J. Trolley wires or other exposed conductors shall not carry more than 300 volts.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.188. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Grounding.

A. All metallic sheaths, armors, and conduits enclosing power conductors shall be electrically continuous throughout and shall be grounded effectively.

B. Metallic frames, casing, and other enclosures of stationary electric equipment that can become "alive" through failure of insulation or by contact with energized parts shall be grounded effectively, or equivalent protection shall be provided.

C. Three-phase alternating current circuits used underground shall contain either a direct or derived neutral which shall be grounded through a suitable resistor at the power center, and a grounding circuit, originating at the grounded side of the grounding resistor, shall extend with the power conductors and serve as the grounding conductor for the frames of all the electrical equipment supplied power from that circuit. Grounding resistors that are manufactured to meet the extended time rating as set forth in IEEE Standard 32-1972, formerly AIEE Standard 32, are deemed to meet the requirements of this section. High-voltage circuits extending underground shall be supplied with a grounding resistor of a proper Ohmic value located on the surface to limit the voltage drop in the grounding circuit external to the resistor to not more than 100 volts under fault conditions. The grounding resistor shall be rated for maximum fault current continuously and insulated from ground for a voltage equal to the phase-to-phase voltage of the system. All resistance-grounded alternating circuits used underground shall include a fail-safe ground check circuit to monitor continuously the grounding circuit to assure the continuity of the ground conductor.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-79; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.189. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Circuit breakers and switches.

A. Automatic circuit breaking devices or fuses of the correct type and capacity shall be installed so as to protect all electric equipment and power circuits against excessive overload; however, this shall not apply to locomotives operated regularly on grades exceeding five percent. Wires or other conducting materials shall not be used as a substitute for properly designed fuses, and circuit breaking devices shall be maintained in safe operating condition.

B. An automatic circuit breaker of correct type and capacity shall be installed on each resistance grounded circuit used underground. Such circuit breaker shall be located at the power source and equipped with devices to provide protection against under-voltage, grounded phase, short circuit and overcurrent.

C. Operating controls, such as switches, starters, and switch buttons, shall be so installed that they are readily accessible and can be operated without danger of contact with moving or live parts.

D. Disconnecting switches shall be installed underground in all main power circuits within approximately 500 feet of the bottoms of shafts and boreholes, and at other places where main power circuits enter the mine.

E. Electric equipment and circuits shall be provided with switches or other controls of safe design, construction and installation.

F. Insulating mats or other electrically nonconductive material shall be kept in place at each power-control switch and at stationary machinery where shock hazards exist.

G. Circuit breakers, disconnecting devices and switches shall be marked for identification.

Code 1950, § 45-82.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-80; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.190. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, c. 774, effective April 6, 1996.

§ 45.1-161.191. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Communication systems.

A. Telephone service or equivalent two-way communication facilities shall be provided between the top and each landing of main shafts and slopes. A telephone or equivalent two-way communication facility shall be located on the surface within 500 feet of all main portals, and shall be installed either in a building or in a box-like structure designed to protect the facilities from damage by inclement weather. At least one of these communication facilities shall be at a location where an authorized person who is always on duty when miners are underground can see or hear the facility and respond immediately in the event of an emergency.

B. Telephone lines, other than cables, shall be carried on insulators, installed on the opposite side from power or trolley wires, and where they cross power or trolley wires, they shall be insulated adequately.

C. Lightning arrestors shall be provided at the points where telephone circuits enter the mine and at each telephone on the surface. Where the telephone circuit enters a building or structure, the lightning arrestor is only required where the circuit enters such building or structure.

D. If a communication system other than telephones is used and its operation depends entirely upon power from the mine electric system, means shall be provided to permit continued communication in the event the mine electric power fails or is cut off.

E. Communication systems equipped with audible and visual signals that become operative when telephone communication is being established between the phones of the communication station on the surface and the underground working sections shall be provided.

F. The Chief shall promulgate regulations governing any disruption of communication in mines.

Code 1950, § 45-82.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-81; 1978, c. 118; 1979, c. 315; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.192. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.193. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Electric equipment.

A. Electric equipment taken into or used inby the last open crosscut or in other than intake air shall be permissible equipment.

B. Permissible equipment used in areas specified in subsection A shall be maintained in permissible condition.

C. Electric equipment shall not be taken into or operated in any place where a methane level of one percent or more is detected.

D. Voltage limitations for underground installations of electric equipment using direct or alternating current shall conform to the voltages provided in 30 C.F.R. § 18.47.

E. Electric equipment must be permissible and maintained in a permissible condition when such equipment is located within 150 feet of pillar workings or longwall faces.

F. Electric conductors and cables installed in or by the last open crosscut, or within 150 feet of pillar workings or longwall faces, shall be:

1. Shielded high-voltage cables supplying power to permissible longwall and other equipment;

2. Interconnecting conductors and cables of permissible longwall equipment;

3. Conductors and cables of intrinsically safe circuits; or

4. Cables and conductors supplying power to low and medium voltage permissible equipment.

G. Electric equipment shall be maintained in safe operating condition at all times while it is being used, and any unsafe condition shall be corrected promptly or the equipment shall be removed from service.

Code 1950, § 45-83; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-83; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2015, cc. 103, 397.

§ 45.1-161.194. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Trailing cables.

A. Trailing cables used underground shall be flame-resistant cables.

B. Trailing cables shall be provided with suitable short-circuit protection and means of disconnecting power from the cable. Power connections made in other than intake air shall be by means of permissible connectors.

C. Temporary splices in trailing cables shall be made in a workmanlike manner, mechanically strong, and well insulated.

D. No more than one temporary, unvulcanized splice shall be allowed in a trailing cable.

E. Permanent splices or repairs in trailing cables shall be made as follows:

1. They shall be mechanically strong with adequate electrical conductivity and flexibility;

2. They shall be effectively insulated and sealed so as to exclude moisture;

3. The finished splice or repair shall be vulcanized or otherwise treated with suitable materials to provide flame-resistant properties and good bonding to the outer jacket; and

4. If the cable has metallic shielding around each conductor, then the new shielding shall be equivalent to that of the original shielding.

F. Trailing cables shall be protected against mechanical damage. Trailing cables damaged in a manner that exposes the insulated inner power conductors shall be repaired promptly or removed from service.

Code 1950, § 45-82.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-84; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.195. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Inspection of electric equipment and wiring; checking and testing methane monitors.

A. Electric equipment and wiring shall be inspected by a certified person at least weekly if located underground, and at least monthly if located on the surface, and more often if necessary to assure safe operating conditions, and any hazardous condition found shall be promptly corrected or the equipment or wiring shall be removed from service. Records of such examination shall be maintained at the mine for a period of one year.

B. A functional check of methane monitors on electrical face equipment shall be conducted to determine that such monitors are de-energizing the electrical face equipment properly. Such check shall be made on each production shift and shall be conducted by the equipment operator in the presence of a mine foreman, and shall be recorded in the on-shift report of the mine foreman.

C. Weekly calibration tests on methane monitors on electrical face equipment to determine the accuracy and operation of such monitors shall be conducted with a known mixture of methane at the flow rate recommended by the methane monitor manufacturer. A record of the results shall be maintained.

D. Required methane monitors shall be maintained in permissible and proper operating condition.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-85; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.196. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Repairs to circuits and electric equipment.

No electrical work shall be performed on low-voltage, medium-voltage, or high-voltage distribution circuits or equipment, except by a certified person or by a person trained to perform electrical work and to maintain electrical equipment under the direct supervision of a certified person. All high-voltage circuits shall be grounded before repair work is performed. Disconnecting devices shall be locked out and suitably tagged by the persons who perform electrical or mechanical work on such circuits or equipment connected to the circuits, except that in cases where locking out is not possible, such devices shall be opened and suitably tagged by such persons. Locks and tags shall be removed only by the persons who installed them or, if such persons are unavailable, by certified persons authorized by the operator or his agent. However, miners may, where necessary, repair energized trolley wires if they wear insulated shoes and lineman's gloves. This section does not prohibit certified electrical repairmen from making checks on or troubleshooting energized circuits or the performance of repairs or maintenance on equipment by authorized persons once the power is off and the equipment is blocked against motion, except where motion is necessary to make adjustments.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.