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 13. Fire Prevention and Fire Control.

§ 45.1-161.200. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Firefighting equipment; fire prevention.

A. Each mine shall be provided with suitable firefighting equipment, adequate for the size of the mine.

B. The following equipment, at a minimum, shall be immediately available at each mine:

1. A water car filled with water and provided with hose and pump, or waterlines and necessary hoses;

2. At least three 20-pound dry chemical fire extinguishers;

3. Ten 50-pound bags of rock dust, available at doors or other strategic places;

4. Bolt cutters which may be used to cut trolley wire in an emergency;

5. One pair of rubber gloves to be used with bolt cutters when cutting trolley wire;

6. Two sledge hammers; and

7. Five hundred square feet of brattice cloth, nails and hammer.

C. Clean dry sand, rock dust, or fire extinguishers, suitable from a toxic and shock standpoint, shall be provided and placed at each electrical station, such as substations, transformer stations and permanent pump stations, so as to be out of the smoke in case of a fire in the station.

D. Suitable fire extinguishers shall be provided at all (i) electrical stations, such as substations, transformer stations, and permanent pump stations; (ii) self-propelled mobile equipment; (iii) belt heads and at the inby end of belts; (iv) areas used for the storage of flammable materials; (v) fueling stations; and (vi) other areas that may constitute a fire hazard, so as to be on the fresh air side in case of a fire.

E. All firefighting equipment and fire sensor systems shall be maintained in a useable and operative condition. Chemical extinguishers shall be examined every six months and the date of the examination shall be indicated on a tag attached to the extinguishers.

F. A sufficient number of approved one-hour self-contained self-rescuers shall be readily available, not more than 100 feet away, for the persons involved in the moving or transporting of any unit of off-track mining equipment.

Code 1950, § 45-14.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1978, c. 118; 1984, c. 590; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2015, cc. 103, 397.

§ 45.1-161.201. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Duties in case of fire.

A. In case of a fire, the next inby permanent stopping into the return air course shall be opened, as soon as possible, in order to short circuit the air and permit close access to the fire for extinguishment.

B. When a fire that may endanger persons underground cannot be extinguished immediately, the persons shall be withdrawn promptly from the mine.

C. Should a fire occur, the person discovering it and any person in the vicinity of the fire shall make a prompt effort to extinguish it.

Code 1950, § 45-14.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1978, c. 118; 1984, c. 590; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.202. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Emergency response plans; list of next of kin.

A. Operators shall develop an emergency response plan for each mine. The plan shall include (i) a mine emergency communication plan, (ii) an evacuation procedure, (iii) the identification of waterlines, (iv) the number system of brattice, (v) the location of escapeways, and (vi) such other information as the Chief may reasonably require.

B. The operator shall maintain a list of the next of kin of all miners employed at the mine. The list shall be kept at the mine site or at a central facility readily accessible to the mine.

C. An emergency response plan shall be subject to approval by the Chief or mine inspector. The Chief may require periodic updates to an operator's emergency response plan. Operators shall comply with the requirements of the approved plan.

D. The emergency response plan shall be posted in a conspicuous manner and place, readily accessible to all miners, underground and at the surface of the mine.

E. The operator shall train miners in the implementation of the emergency response plan and shall conduct practice drills. Records of dates and times of practice drills shall be maintained in the emergency response plan.

F. Each miner employed by the operator who goes underground and each visitor authorized to enter the mine by the operator shall have available an adequate supply of self-rescue devices, each of which provides one hour or longer protection and is approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The training related to self-rescue devices shall be included in the emergency response plan approved by the Chief.

Code 1950, § 45-14.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1978, c. 118; 1984, c. 590; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2006, c. 291.

§ 45.1-161.203. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Reporting fires; response.

In case of any unplanned fire at a mine not extinguished within thirty minutes of discovery, the operator shall report to the Chief, by the quickest available means, all information known to him. The Chief, based on the information, shall promptly go in person or dispatch a mine inspector to the scene of the fire for consultation, and assist in the extinguishing of the fire and the protection of exposed persons. In the event of a difference of opinion as to measures required, the decision of the Chief or the mine inspector shall be final. The decision of the Chief regarding measures to extinguish the fire and protect persons shall have the force of an order issued pursuant to § 45.1-161.91 if delivered to the operator in writing.

Code 1950, § 45-14.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1978, c. 118; 1984, c. 590; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.204. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Fire prevention in transportation of mining equipment.

A. Prior to moving or transporting any unit of off-track mining equipment in areas of the active workings where energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires are present: (i) the unit of equipment shall be examined by a certified person to ensure that accumulations of coal dust, float coal dust, loose coal, oil, grease, and other combustible materials have been removed from such unit of equipment; and (ii) a qualified person shall examine the trolley wires, trolley feeder wires, and the associated automatic circuit interrupting devices to ensure that proper short circuit protection exists.

B. A record shall be kept of the examinations and shall be made available, upon request, to the Chief or his authorized representative.

C. Off-track mining equipment shall be moved or transported in areas of the active workings where energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires are present only under the direct supervision of a certified person who shall be physically present at all times during moving or transporting such equipment.

D. The frames of off-track mining equipment being moved or transported shall be covered on the top and on the trolley wire side with fire-resistant material.

E. Electrical contact shall be maintained between the mine track and the frames of off-track mining equipment being moved in-track and trolley entries, except that rubber-tired equipment need not be grounded to a transporting vehicle if no metal part of such rubber-tired equipment can come into contact with the transporting vehicle.

F. To avoid accidental contact with power lines, the equipment being transported or trammed shall be insulated or assemblage removed, if necessary, if the clearance to the power lines is six inches or less.

G. Sufficient prior notice shall be given the Department so that a mine inspector may travel the route of the move before the actual move is made, if he deems it necessary.

H. A minimum vertical clearance of twelve inches shall be maintained between the farthest projection of the unit of equipment which is being moved and the energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires at all times during the movement or transportation of such equipment. If the height of the coal seam does not permit twelve inches of vertical clearance to be so maintained, the following additional precautions shall be taken:

1. Electric power shall be supplied to the trolley wires or trolley feeder wires only from outby the unit of equipment being moved or transported. Where direct current electric power is used and such electric power can be supplied only from inby the equipment being moved or transported, power may be supplied from inby such equipment if a miner with the means to cut off the power, and in direct communication with persons actually engaged in the moving or transporting operation, is stationed outby the equipment being moved;

2. The settings of automatic circuit interrupting devices used to provide short circuit protection for the trolley circuit shall be reduced to not more than one-half of the maximum current that could flow if the equipment being moved or transported were to come into contact with the trolley wire or trolley feeder wire;

3. At all times when the unit of equipment is being moved or transported, a miner shall be stationed at the first automatic circuit breaker outby the equipment being moved. Such miner shall be (i) in direct communication with persons actually engaged in the moving or transporting operation and (ii) capable of communicating with the authorized person on the surface required to be on duty;

4. Where trolley phones are utilized to satisfy the requirements of subdivision 3 of this subsection, telephones or other equivalent two-way communication devices that can readily be connected with the mine communication system shall be carried by the miner stationed at the first automatic circuit breaker outby the equipment being moved and by a miner actually engaged in the moving or transporting operation; and

5. No person shall be permitted to be inby the unit of equipment being moved or transported, or in the ventilating current of air that is passing over such equipment, except those persons directly engaged in moving such equipment.

The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to units of mining equipment that are transported in mine cars, provided that no part of the equipment extends above or over the sides of the mine car.

Code 1950, § 45-14.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1978, c. 118; 1984, c. 590; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.205. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Storage and use of flammable fluids and materials.

A. Underground storage places for oil, grease and flammable hydraulic fluid shall be of fireproof construction.

B. Oil, grease and flammable hydraulic fluid kept underground for current use shall be in closed metal containers.

C. Provisions shall be made to prevent accumulation of spilled oil or grease at the storage places or at the locations where such materials are used.

D. Oily rags, oily waste, and wastepaper shall be kept in closed metal containers until removed for disposal.

E. No gasoline, benzene, kerosene or other flammable oils shall be used underground in powering machinery.

F. All oxygen and acetylene bottles used underground shall be secured while in use. When stored underground, oxygen and acetylene bottles shall be placed in a safe location, protected from physical damage, with caps in place where provided for on the tank, and secured upright or elevated, whichever mine heights allow.

Code 1950, §§ 45-14.1, 45-43; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-89, 45.1-90, 45.1-100; 1974, c. 323; 1978, cc. 118, 729; 1981, c. 131; 1984, c. 590, § 45.1-89, c. 639; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.206. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Diesel powered equipment.

Diesel powered equipment may be utilized underground with the written approval of the Chief. The Chief shall promulgate regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. The regulations shall require that the air in each travel way in which diesel equipment is used, and in any active workings connected thereto, be of a quality necessary for a safe, healthful working environment. The minimum quantity of ventilating air that must be supplied for a permissible diesel machine in a given time shall conform to that shown on the approval plate attached to the machine. All diesel machines and equipment shall be maintained in such manner that the exhaust emissions meet the same standards to which the machine or equipment was manufactured.

Code 1950, § 45-43; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-90; 1978, c. 729; 1981, c. 131; 1984, c. 639; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.207. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Arcs, sparks and flames.

A. The intentional creation of any open arc, open spark or open flame, except as provided in subsection B, shall be prohibited.

B. Welding and cutting with arc or flame or soldering underground in other than a fireproof enclosure ventilated with intake air shall be done by or under the direct instruction of a certified foreman or repairman. A person certified in gas detection shall test for methane before and during such operations in underground mines and shall make a diligent search for fire after such operation in all mines. Rock dust or suitable fire extinguishers shall be immediately available during such welding or cutting. Welding operations shall be performed only in well ventilated areas.

Code 1950, §§ 45-72, 45-82.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-98; 1978, c. 729; 1993, cc. 389, 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.