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 14. Ventilation, Mine Gases and Other Hazardous Conditions.

§ 45.1-161.208. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Pre-shift examinations.

A. The operator or his agent shall establish eight-hour intervals of time subject to required pre-shift examinations. Within three hours preceding the beginning of any such eight-hour interval during which any person is scheduled to work or travel underground, mine foremen shall make a pre-shift examination. No person scheduled to enter the mine during the eight-hour interval other than the mine foremen conducting the examination may enter any underground area unless a pre-shift examination has been completed for such established eight-hour interval.

B. During the pre-shift examination, the mine foreman shall (i) examine for hazardous conditions, (ii) test for methane and oxygen deficiency with a suitable permissible device, and (iii) determine whether the air is traveling in its regular course and in sufficient volume in each split, at the following locations which are underground:

1. Track entries and other areas where persons are scheduled to work or travel during the oncoming shift;

2. Belt conveyors that will be used to transport persons during the oncoming shift and the entries in which these belt conveyors are located;

3. Working sections and areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed, if anyone is being scheduled to work on the section or in the area during the oncoming shift. This includes working places, approaches to worked-out areas, and ventilation controls on these sections or in these areas;

4. Approaches to worked-out areas along intake air courses if intake air passes by the worked-out area to ventilate working sections where anyone is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift;

5. Seals along intake air courses where intake air passes by a seal to ventilate working sections where anyone is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift;

6. Entries and rooms driven more than 20 feet off an intake air course without a crosscut and without permanent ventilation controls, or more than two crosscuts off an intake air course without permanent ventilation controls where intake air passes through or by these entries or rooms to a working section where anyone is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift; and

7. Where unattended diesel equipment is to operate or areas where trolley wires or trolley feeder wires are to be or will remain energized during the oncoming shift.

C. During the pre-shift examination, the mine foreman shall determine the volume of air entering each of the following areas if a miner is scheduled to work in the areas during the oncoming shift:

1. In the last open crosscut, which means the crosscut in the line of pillars containing the permanent stoppings that separate the intake air courses and the return air courses, of each set of entries or rooms on each working section and areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed;

2. On each longwall or shortwall in the intake entry or entries at the intake end of the longwall or shortwall face immediately outby the face and the velocity of air at each end of the face at the locations specified in the approved ventilation plan required by the federal mine safety law; and

3. At the intake end of any pillar line (i) if a single split of air is used, in the intake entry furthest from the return air course, immediately outby the first open crosscut outby the line of pillars being mined, or (ii) if a split system is used, in the intake entries of each split immediately inby the split point.

D. A mine foreman shall make a pre-shift examination of surface areas of underground coal mines in accordance with the requirements for pre-shift examinations at surface coal mines as provided in § 45.1-161.256.

E. The Chief may require the mine foreman to examine other areas of the mine or examine for other hazards during the pre-shift examination.

F. Any area of the mine where hazardous conditions are found shall be posted with a conspicuous danger sign where anyone entering the area would pass. Only persons designated by the operator, or his agent, to correct or evaluate the condition may enter this posted area.

G. At each working place examined, the mine foreman shall certify by initials, date, and time, that the examination was made. In areas to be examined outby a working section, the mine foreman shall certify by initials, date, and time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.

H. Idle and worked-out areas underground shall be inspected for gas and other hazardous conditions by a mine foreman, immediately before miners are permitted to enter or work in such places. A certified person shall supervise the correction of conditions that create an imminent danger. The mine operator, or his agent, may pass beyond the danger signal only in cases of necessity.

I. Where persons have not been working underground before an established eight-hour interval, no person other than the mine foremen conducting a pre-shift examination may enter the mine until the examination has been completed and the mine foremen report the mine to be clear of danger; however, miners may enter under the direction of a mine foreman for the purpose of making the mine safe. The Chief shall have the authority in certain mines, in his discretion, to authorize man-trips to proceed to a designated station underground, from which they may not pass until the mine foremen report the remainder of the areas of the mine to be clear of danger.

J. Miners regularly employed on a shift during which a pre-shift examination is being conducted shall be permitted to leave or enter the mine in the performance of their duties.

K. In multiple shift operations, certified persons may be used to make the pre-shift examination for the next or succeeding shift.

L. Areas of inactive underground coal mines shall be examined for gas and other hazardous conditions by a mine foreman immediately before miners are permitted to enter such areas to take emergency actions to preserve a mine.

M. In the performance of his duties under this section, the mine foreman shall have no superior officer, and all miners shall be subordinate to him.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-65; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 385; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.209. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) On-shift examinations.

A. At least once during each shift, and more often if necessary, a certified person shall examine each underground section where coal is produced and any other area where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed during the shift. The certified person shall (i) examine for hazardous conditions, (ii) test for methane and oxygen deficiency with a suitable permissible device, and (iii) determine whether the air is traveling in its regular course and in sufficient volume in each split. Hazardous conditions shall be corrected immediately or the miners shall be withdrawn and the affected area plainly marked with "danger" signs.

B. During each shift that coal is produced, a certified person shall examine for hazardous conditions along each underground belt conveyor entry where a belt conveyor is operated. This examination may be conducted at the same time as the pre-shift examination of the belt conveyors and the belt conveyor entries, if the examination is conducted within three hours before the established eight-hour interval. The person conducting the examination shall certify by initials, date, and time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.

C. Persons conducting the on-shift examination shall determine at the following locations which are underground:

1. The volume of air in the last open crosscut, which means the crosscut in the line of pillars containing the permanent stoppings that separate the intake air courses and the return air courses, of each set of entries or rooms on each working section and areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed;

2. The volume of air on a longwall or shortwall, including areas where longwall or shortwall equipment is being installed or removed, in the intake entry or entries at the intake end of the longwall or shortwall;

3. The velocity of air at each end of the longwall or shortwall face at the locations specified in the approved ventilation plan required pursuant to the federal mine safety law; and

4. The volume of air at the intake end of any pillar line (i) where a single split of air is used, in the intake entry furthest from the return air course, immediately outby the first open crosscut outby the line of pillars being mined, or (ii) if a split system is used, in the intake entries of each split immediately inby the split point.

D. A test shall be made for methane before any electrically powered equipment is taken inby the last open crosscut, before blasting, and before work is resumed after blasting. When longwall or shortwall mining systems are used, these methane tests shall be made from under permanent roof support at the shearer, the plow, or cutting head. These methane tests shall be made at least once every 20 minutes or more often as necessary for safety while such equipment is in operation. When mining has been stopped for more than 20 minutes, methane tests shall be conducted prior to the start up of equipment.

E. Idle or worked-out areas underground, including section belts that have been idle for a period of 24 hours, shall be examined by a certified person immediately before miners are permitted to enter or work in such areas. The person conducting the examination shall certify by initials, date, and time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.

F. Daily and on-shift examinations of surface areas of underground coal mines shall be made in accordance with the requirements for daily and on-shift examinations at surface coal mines as provided in § 45.1-161.256.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-60.5, 45-68.1, 45-69.7, 45-83; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-62, 45.1-65, 45.1-83; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 385; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.210. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Weekly examinations.

A. At least every seven days, a mine foreman shall examine unsealed worked-out areas where no pillars have been recovered.

B. At least every seven days, a mine foreman shall evaluate the effectiveness of bleeder systems used under § 45.1-161.220.

C. At least every seven days, a mine foreman shall examine the following locations for hazardous conditions:

1. In at least one entry of each intake air course, in its entirety, so that the entire air course is traveled.

2. In at least one entry of each return air course, in its entirety, so that the entire air course is traveled.

3. In each longwall or shortwall travel way in its entirety, so that the entire travel way is traveled.

4. At each seal along return and bleeder air courses and at each seal along intake air courses not examined under § 45.1-161.208.

5. In each escapeway so that the entire escapeway is traveled.

6. On each working section not examined under § 45.1-161.208 during the previous seven days.

D. At least every seven days, a certified person shall:

1. Determine the volume of air entering the main intakes and in each intake split;

2. Determine the volume of air and test for methane in the last open crosscut in any pair or set of developing entries or rooms, in the return of each split of air immediately before it enters the main returns and where the air leaves the main returns; and

3. Test for methane in the return entry nearest each set of seals immediately after the air passes the seals.

E. Hazardous conditions shall be corrected immediately. If the condition creates an imminent danger, everyone except those persons necessary to correct the hazardous conditions shall be withdrawn from the area affected to a safe area until the hazardous condition is corrected.

F. Weekly examination is not required during any seven-day period in which no person enters any underground area of the mine. When a mine is idled or in a nonproducing status with entry only for maintenance of the mine, weekly examinations may be conducted in accordance with a plan approved by the Chief.

G. Except for certified persons required to make examinations, no person shall enter any underground area of a coal mine if the weekly examination has not been completed within the preceding seven days. The weekly examination may be conducted at the same time as the pre-shift examination.

H. The person making the weekly examinations shall certify by initials, date, and the time that the examination was made. Certifications and time shall appear at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.

I. Examinations of surface areas of underground coal mines shall be made in accordance with the requirements for weekly examinations at surface coal mines as provided in § 45.1-161.256.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-35, 45-40, 45-60.4, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-17, 45.1-56, 45.1-65; 1968, c. 310; 1978, cc. 120, 729; 1993, cc. 170, 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.211. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Examinations of fans.

A. A daily inspection shall be made of all main fans and machinery connected therewith by an authorized person. The person making the examination shall make a record of the same in a book prescribed for this purpose or by adequate facilities provided to permanently record the performance of the main fan and to give warning of an interruption to a fan. No daily examination is required on any day in which no person goes underground, except that the examination shall be completed prior to any person entering the mine if the previous day's examination has not been made.

B. Places ventilated by means of blower fans shall be examined for methane by a certified person before the fan is started at the beginning of the shift and after any interruption of fan operation for five minutes or more during the shift.

C. The blower fan and tubing shall be inspected at least twice during each working shift by a certified person.

Code 1950, §§ 45-60.1, 45-60.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-54, 45.1-55; 1978, c. 120; 1988, c. 597; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.212. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Record of examinations.

A. Any hazardous condition found by the mine foreman or other certified persons designated by the operator for the purposes of conducting examinations under Article 14 (§ 45.1-161.208 et seq.) of this chapter shall be corrected immediately, or the affected area shall be dangered off until the condition is corrected. If the hazardous condition creates an imminent danger all persons except those required to perform work to correct the imminent danger shall be withdrawn from the affected area. A record of the hazardous condition found and the corrective actions taken shall be made in a book maintained for this purpose on the surface at the mine. The record shall be made by the completion of the shift on which the hazardous condition is found.

B. Upon completing the pre-shift examination, the mine foreman shall return to the surface or a designated station underground and report in person to an authorized person before other miners enter the mine. Immediately upon reaching the surface, the mine foreman shall record in ink or indelible pencil the result of his inspection in a book kept on the surface for that purpose.

C. At the completion of any shift during which a portion of a weekly examination is made, a record of hazardous conditions, their locations, the corrective action taken, and the results and location of air and methane measurements shall be made. The record shall be made by the person making the examination or by a person designated by the operator. If the record is made by a person other than the examiner, the examiner shall verify the record by initials and date.

D. The actual level of methane detected in any examination shall be recorded in the book.

E. A mine foreman or other certified person conducting a required examination shall record the results of his examination in ink or indelible pencil in a book kept on the surface for that purpose. Similar records may be kept at designated stations or offices underground.

F. Records shall be countersigned by the supervisor of the examiner creating the records. Where such records disclose hazardous conditions, the countersigning of the records shall be performed no later than the end of the next regularly scheduled working shift following the shift for which the examination records were completed, and the person countersigning shall ensure that actions to eliminate or control the hazardous conditions have been taken. Where such records do not disclose hazardous conditions, the countersigning may be completed within 24 hours following the end of the shift for which the examination records were completed. The operator may authorize another person with equivalent authority of the supervisor to act in the supervisor's temporary absence to read and countersign the records and ensure that action is taken to eliminate the hazardous conditions disclosed in the records.

G. All records of examination shall be open for inspection by interested persons and maintained at the mine site for a minimum of one year.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-65; 1978, c. 120; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.213. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2005, c. 3, cl. 2, effective February 10, 2005.

§ 45.1-161.214. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Notice of hazardous conditions.

The mine foreman shall give prompt attention to the removal of all hazardous conditions reported to him by any person working in the mine. If it is impracticable to remove the hazardous condition at once, he shall notify every person whose safety is menaced thereby to remain away from the portion of the mine where the hazardous condition exists.

Code 1950, §§ 45-35, 45-40; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-17; 1978, c. 729; 1993, c. 170; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.215. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Notice of monitor tampering prohibition.

The operator or agent, shall display, in bold-faced type, on a sign placed at the mine office, at the bath house, and on a bulletin board at the mine site, the following notice:

NOTICE: IT IS UNLAWFUL TO DISTURB, DISCONNECT, BYPASS, IMPAIR, OR OTHERWISE TAMPER WITH METHANE MONITORS OR OTHER DEVICES CAPABLE OF DETECTING THE PRESENCE OF EXPLOSIVE GASES IN AN UNDERGROUND COAL MINE. A VIOLATION IS PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS 6 FELONY.

1993, c. 247, § 45.1-65.2; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.216. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Main fans.

A. The active workings of a mine shall be ventilated by means of main fans.

B. Unless otherwise approved by the Chief, fans shall be (i) provided with pressure-recording gauges, (ii) installed on the surface in fireproof housings, and (iii) equipped with fireproof air ducts.

C. In addition to the requirements of subsection B, main fans shall either:

1. Be equipped with ample means of pressure relief, and be offset not less than 15 feet from the nearest side of the mine opening; or

2. Be directly in front of, or over, the mine opening; however, the opening shall not be in direct line with possible forces coming out of the mine should an explosion occur, and there shall be another opening having a weak-wall stopping or explosion doors that would be in direct line with the forces coming out of the mine should an explosion occur, such opening to be not less than 15 feet nor more than 100 feet from the fan opening; and

3. In mines ventilated by multiple main mine fans, incombustible doors shall be installed so that if any main mine fan stops and air reversals through the fan are possible, the doors on the affected fan automatically close.

D. Main mine fans shall be provided with an automatic device to give alarm when the fan slows down or stops. Unless otherwise approved by the Chief, this device shall be placed so that it will be seen or heard by an authorized person.

E. Main fans shall be on separate power circuits, independent of the mine circuit.

F. The area surrounding main fan installations shall be kept free of combustible material for at least 100 feet in all directions where physical conditions permit.

G. Mine fans shall be operated continuously, except when intentionally stopped for necessary testing, adjustment, maintenance, or repairs while no miners are underground, or as otherwise approved by the Chief. If the main fan is intentionally stopped for testing, adjustment, maintenance, or repairs, the mine operator shall comply with the requirements set forth in the approved fan stoppage plan for that mine. If the main fan is stopped after all miners are out of the mine, the fan shall be operated for a period specified in the approved fan stoppage plan for that mine before any miner is allowed underground.

H. Where electric power is available, main mine fans shall not be powered by means of internal combustion engines; however, where electric power is not available or for emergency use, main mine fans may be powered with internal combustion engines if, unless otherwise approved by the Chief, (i) the fan shall be operated exhausting, and (ii) the engine operating the fan shall be offset at least 10 feet from the fan and housed in a separate fireproof structure.

Code 1950, § 45-60.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-54; 1978, c. 120; 1988, c. 597; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.217. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Fan stoppage plan.

A fan stoppage plan shall be prepared for each mine, which plan shall be subject to approval by the Chief or his designated representative. Failure to comply with requirements set forth in the approved plan will be a violation of this section. Fan stoppage plans shall require the following:

1. When the main fan fails or stops, the power shall be cut off from the mine and miners shall be withdrawn from the face areas.

2. Miners shall be withdrawn from the underground areas if the ventilation is not restored within a reasonable time determined by the Chief, which period of time shall not exceed fifteen minutes. In determining the reasonable time period, the Chief shall consider, among other things, the size and number of fans, and the methane liberation rate of the mine.

3. If ventilation is restored within the time period established in the plan, the face areas and other areas where methane is likely to accumulate shall be examined by a certified person, and if the areas are found to be free of explosive or harmful gases, power may be restored and work resumed.

4. If ventilation is not restored within the time period established in the plan and the miners are evacuated from the mine, the main fan shall be operated for a period of time specified in the plan, which shall not be less than fifteen minutes. Thereafter the mine shall be examined by a certified person before miners shall be permitted underground or energizing power circuits.

Code 1950, § 45-60.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-54; 1978, c. 120; 1988, c. 597; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.218. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Auxiliary fans.

A. The installation or use of auxiliary fans in any mine shall be prohibited, without the prior written approval of the Chief.

B. Machine mounted scrubbers and spray fan systems may be used for control of coal dust and to enhance ventilation. Such installations are not considered auxiliary fans.

Code 1950, § 45-60.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-55; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.219. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Volume of air.

A. The quantity of air passing through the last open crosscut shall be not less than 9,000 cubic feet per minute; provided, however, that the quantity of air reaching the last open crosscut in pillar-recovery sections may be less than 9,000 cubic feet per minute, if at least 9,000 cubic feet of air per minute is being delivered to the intake end of the pillar line.

B. The air current at working faces shall, under all conditions, have a sufficient volume and velocity to readily dilute and carry away smoke from blasting and any flammable or harmful gases and dust.

C. In longwall and shortwall mining systems:

1. The quantity of air shall be at least 30,000 cubic feet per minute reaching the working face unless otherwise approved by the Chief; and

2. The velocity of air provided to control dust at designated locations on the longwall or shortwall face shall be maintained in accordance with the provisions of the mine ventilation plan approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

D. Ventilation shall be maintained during the installation and removal of mechanized mining equipment.

Code 1950, §§ 45-4.1, 45-9, 45-12, 45-60.4, 45-74; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-5, 45.1-56; 1968, c. 310; 1976, c. 598; 1978, c. 120; 1984, c. 236; 1985, c. 448; 1987, c. 470; 1990, c. 963; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.220. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Bleeder systems.

A. All mines shall have a system, which has been approved by the Chief, of bleeder openings of air courses designed to provide positive movement of air through or around worked-out areas which is sufficient to prevent a hazardous accumulation of gas in such areas and to minimize the effect of variations in atmospheric pressure. Operators shall submit bleeder system plans which comply with requirements developed by the Chief. The system requirements developed by the Chief shall, at a minimum, address standards for (i) supplemental roof supports, (ii) water accumulation, (iii) continuous movement of gases from gob areas, (iv) methane content, (v) the use and operation of degasification systems, (vi) air flow direction, and content, (vii) ventilation controls. The Chief shall not approve a plan which provides for a methane content exceeding four and one-half percent in bleeder air courses. Failure to comply with an approved plan will be a violation of this section. This section shall not prohibit the sealing of worked-out areas in accordance with § 45.1-161.228.

B. The mine map requirements of § 45.1-161.64 may be used to depict bleeder system standards specified in this section.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-56; 1968, c. 310; 1978, c. 120; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.221. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Coursing of air.

A. The main intake and return air currents of drifts or slope mines shall not be in a single partitioned opening.

B. All entries driven in coal shall be in sets of two or more.

C. Underground transformer stations, battery-charging stations, substations, rectifiers, and water pumps shall be housed in noncombustible structures or areas, or be equipped with an approved fire suppression system. These installations shall be ventilated with intake air that is coursed into a return air course or to the surface, and that is not used to ventilate working places. This requirement does not apply to: (i) rectifiers, power centers with transformers that are either dry-type or contain nonflammable liquid, or battery-charging stations, if they are located at or near the working section and are moved as the working section advances or retreats, (ii) submersible pumps, (iii) permissible pumps and associated permissible switch gear, (iv) pumps located at or near the working section that are moved as the working section advances or retreats, and (v) small portable pumps. Such equipment shall be installed and operated only in well-ventilated locations.

D. Changes in ventilation that materially affect the main air current or any split thereof shall be made when the mine is not in operation and there are no miners in the mine other than those engaged in changing the ventilation.

E. Each section in a mine shall be ventilated by a separate split of air.

F. Air used to ventilate belt haulage entries shall not be used to ventilate any working place unless approved by the Chief.

Code 1950, §§ 45-60.4, 45-71; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-57; 1978, c. 120; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.222. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Actions for excessive methane.

A. Tests for methane concentration under this section shall be made by certified or qualified persons trained in the use of an approved detecting device which is properly maintained and calibrated. Tests shall be made at least twelve inches from the roof, face, ribs, and floor.

B. When one percent or more methane is present in a working place or an intake air course, including an air course in which a belt conveyor is located, or in an area where mining equipment is being installed or removed, work shall cease and electrical power shall be de-energized in the affected working place at the equipment except intrinsically safe atmospheric monitoring systems (AMS). Changes or adjustments shall be made to the ventilation system to reduce the concentration to below one percent. Only work to reduce the concentration of methane below one percent shall be permitted. This does not apply to other faces in the entry or slope in which work can be safely continued.

C. When one and one-half percent or more methane is present in a working place or an intake air course, including an air course in which a belt conveyor is located, or an area where mining equipment is being installed or removed, only work necessary to reduce the methane concentration to less than one and one-half percent will be permitted and all other personnel shall be withdrawn from the affected area. Electrically powered equipment in the affected area shall be de-energized and other mechanized equipment shall be shut off except for intrinsically safe atmospheric monitoring systems (AMS).

D. When one percent or more methane is present in a return or split between the last working place on a working section and where that split of air meets another split of air, or the location at which the split is used to ventilate seals or worked-out areas, changes or adjustments shall be made to the ventilation system to reduce the concentration of methane in the return air to less than one percent.

E. When one and one-half percent or more methane is present in a return air split between the last working place on a working section and where that split of air meets another split of air or the location where the split is used to ventilate seals or worked-out areas, everyone except those persons required to perform necessary work to correct the problem shall be withdrawn from the affected area. Other than intrinsically safe atmospheric monitoring systems (AMS), all equipment in the affected area shall be de-energized at the source. No other work shall be permitted in the affected area until the concentration of methane in the return air is less than one percent.

F. An alternative methane level up to one and one-half percent may be allowed in the return air split where the following precautions are met: (i) the quantity of air in the split ventilating the active workings is at least 27,000 cubic feet per minute in the last open crosscut; (ii) the methane content of the air in the split is continuously monitored during mining operations by an intrinsically safe atmospheric monitoring system (AMS) that gives a visual and audible signal on the working section when the methane in the return air reaches one and one-half percent; and (iii) rock dust is continuously applied with a mechanical duster to the return air course during coal production at a location in the air course immediately outby the most inby monitoring point or inby such point provided the mechanical duster is maintained in a permissible condition and does not adversely affect the AMS. When one and one-half percent or more methane is present where a return air alternative is applied, all persons shall be withdrawn, except those necessary to improve ventilation, and changes or adjustments shall be made to reduce the concentration of methane in the return air to below one and one-half percent as set forth in subsection E.

G. The concentration of methane in a bleeder split of air immediately before the air in the split joins another split of air, or in a return air course other than described in subsections D and E, shall not exceed two percent.

Code 1950, § 45-60.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-58; 1978, c. 120; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.223. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Crosscuts.

A. Crosscuts shall be made between entries and between rooms as provided in the approved roof control plan.

B. Crosscuts between intake and return air courses shall be closed, except the one nearest the face. Crosscuts between rooms shall be closed where necessary to provide adequate ventilation at the working face.

C. Where practicable, a crosscut shall be provided at or near the face of each entry or room before the place is abandoned.

D. Entries or rooms shall not be started off an entry beyond the last open crosscut.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-59; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.224. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Permanent stoppings.

A. Permanent stoppings shall be built and maintained:

1. Between intake and return air courses, except temporary controls may be used in rooms that are 600 feet or less from the centerline of the entry from which the room was developed. Unless otherwise approved by the Chief, these stoppings shall be maintained to and including the third connecting crosscut outby the working face.

2. To separate belt conveyor haulageways from return air courses except where belt entries are used as return air courses.

3. To separate the primary escapeway from belt and trolley haulage entries unless otherwise approved by the Chief.

4. In return air courses to direct air into adjacent worked-out areas.

B. Permanent stoppings shall be built of substantial, incombustible material such as concrete, concrete blocks, brick, tile, or other approved material; however, where physical conditions prohibit the use of such materials, timbers laid longitudinally "skin to skin" may be used.

C. The use of an air lock in the permanent intake stopping line near the section loading point shall be permitted to access the belt and transport supplies.

D. Stoppings shall be maintained to serve the purpose for which they were built and shall be reasonably air tight.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-59; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.225. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Ventilation controls.

A. Ventilation shall be so arranged by means of air locks, overcasts, or undercasts that the passage of haulage trips or persons along the entries will not cause interruption of the air current. Air locks shall be ventilated sufficiently to prevent accumulations of methane therein.

B. Air lock doors that are used in lieu of permanent stoppings or to control ventilation within an air course shall be (i) made of noncombustible material or coated on all accessible surfaces with flame-retardant material having a flame spread index of 25 or less as tested under ASTM E 162-187 and (ii) of sufficient strength to serve their intended purpose of maintaining separation and permitting travel between or within air courses or entries.

C. To provide easy access between the return, belt and intake escapeway entries, substantially constructed man-doors properly marked so as to be readily detected shall be installed in at least every fifth crosscut in the stopping lines separating such entries.

D. Doors shall be kept closed except when miners or equipment is passing through the doorways. Motor crews and other miners who open doors shall see that the doors are closed before leaving them.

E. Overcasts, undercasts, and regulators shall be well constructed of incombustible material, such as masonry, concrete, concrete blocks, or prefabricated metal. They shall (i) be of sufficient strength to withstand possible falls from the roof, (ii) be of ample area to pass the required quantity of air, and (iii) be kept clear of obstructions.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-60; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.226. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Line brattice.

A. Substantially constructed line brattice shall be used from the last open crosscut of an entry or room when necessary to provide adequate ventilation for the miners and to remove gases. Any line brattice damaged by falls or otherwise shall be repaired promptly.

B. The space between the line brattice and the rib shall be large enough to permit the flow of a sufficient volume of air to keep the working face clear of flammable and noxious gases.

C. Brattice cloth used underground shall be of flame-resistant material.

D. Accumulations of methane shall be moved only by means of properly installed line brattice, or other approved method.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-61; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.227. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Ventilation with air from certain areas.

Active face workings shall not be ventilated with air that has passed through worked-out areas or has been used to ventilate pillar lines. This section shall not apply to air which is being used to ventilate an active pillar line and rooms which are necessary to establish and maintain the pillar line.

Code 1950, § 45-60.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-62; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.228. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Worked-out areas.

A. All worked-out areas shall be either sealed or ventilated.

B. Where practice is to seal worked-out areas, the sealing shall be done in accordance with sealing provisions of the approved bleeder plan.

Code 1950, § 45-60.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-62; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.229. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Air quality.

A. All active workings shall be ventilated by a current of air containing not less than 19.5 volume percent of oxygen and no harmful quantities of other noxious or poisonous gases.

B. The volume and velocity of the current of air in all active workings shall be sufficient to dilute, render harmless and carry away flammable, explosive, noxious and harmful gases and dust, smoke, and explosive fumes.

Code 1950, § 45-60.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-63; 1968, c. 310; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.230. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.231. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Examination of mines for explosive gas and other hazardous conditions.

A. Certified persons whose regular duties require them to inspect working places in any mine for hazardous conditions shall have in their possession, and shall use, when underground, a permissible methane detector or other permissible device capable of detecting methane and oxygen deficiency.

B. A sufficient number of permissible methane detectors or other permissible devices capable of detecting methane shall be kept at each mine inby the last open crosscut. All miners shall be trained in the operation of the device. Any miners working inby the last open crosscut shall be certified by the Board of Coal Mining Examiners to conduct gas testing. Methane detectors or indicators shall be maintained in permissible condition.

C. Methane detectors or indicators shall be calibrated at least monthly in accordance with manufacturers recommendations. A record of such calibration shall be made in a book for this purpose kept at a surface location at the mine and maintained for one year.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-68.1, 45-69.7, 45-85.6; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-35, 45.1-65; 1978, cc. 118, 120; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.232. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Tampering with methane monitoring devices prohibited; penalty.

A. No person shall intentionally disturb, disconnect, bypass, impair, or otherwise tamper with methane monitors or other devices capable of detecting the presence of explosive gases used in an underground coal mine. If the methane monitor is installed on a face cutting machine, continuous miner, longwall face equipment, loading machine, or other mechanized equipment used to extract or load coal as required pursuant to 30 CFR Part 75.342, and the monitor or the equipment malfunctions, the monitor may be disconnected or bypassed for the purposes of removing the monitor or the equipment in order to make necessary repairs to the monitor or the equipment. Any other methane monitor may be disconnected, bypassed or removed.

B. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

1993, c. 247, § 45.1-65.1; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.233. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Allowing persons to work in mine where methane monitoring equipment disconnected; penalty.

An operator, agent, or mine foreman shall not knowingly permit any miner to work in any area of the underground coal mine where such operator, agent, or mine foreman has knowledge that a methane monitor or other device capable of detecting the presence of explosive gases has been impaired, disturbed, disconnected, or bypassed in violation of § 45.1-161.232. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

1993, c. 247, § 45.1-30.1; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.233:1. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Intentionally bypassing safety devices; prohibition.

No person shall intentionally bypass, bridge, or otherwise impair an electrical or hydraulic circuit that affects the safe operation of electrical or mechanical equipment. This shall not prohibit (i) a certified electrical repairmen from by-passing energized circuits for troubleshooting; (ii) an authorized person from performing repairs or maintenance on equipment once the power is off and the equipment is blocked against motion except where motion is necessary to make adjustment or to move the equipment to a safe location; (iii) an authorized person from bypassing a hydraulic circuit for the purpose of troubleshooting or moving equipment to a safe location in order to make necessary repairs or be taken out of service; or (iv) an authorized person from activating an override feature that is designed by the machine manufacturer to allow the machine to be moved to a safe location in order to make necessary repairs or be taken out of service.

2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.234. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Control of coal dust.

A. Coal dust shall not be permitted to accumulate excessively in any part of the active areas, including active workings soon to be worked-out.

B. Where mining operations create or raise an excessive amount of coal dust into the air, water or water with an added wetting agent, or other effective method of controlling dust approved by the Chief, or his authorized representative, shall be applied to coal dust on the ribs, roof, and floor to reduce dispersibility and to minimize the hazard of explosion, within forty feet from all active workings or such other areas as the Chief or his authorized representative shall require.

Code 1950, § 45-77.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-66; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.235. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Rock dusting.

A. All underground areas of a mine, except those areas where the coal dust is too wet or too high in incombustible content to propagate an explosion, shall be rock dusted to within forty feet of all working faces, unless such areas are inaccessible or unsafe to enter or unless the Chief, or his authorized representative, permits an exception upon his finding that such exception will not pose a hazard to the miners. All crosscuts that are less than forty feet from working faces shall also be rock dusted.

B. All other areas of a mine shall be rock dusted if conditions are found to be so dusty as to constitute a hazard after proper inspection. Should such conditions be found to exist, the Chief, or his authorized representative, shall require the necessary rock dusting to make the areas of the mine safe.

C. Coal dust, including float coal dust deposited on rock-dusted surfaces, loose coal, and other combustible materials shall be cleaned up and not be permitted to accumulate excessively in active workings, or on electric equipment therein.

Code 1950, § 45-77; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-67; 1978, c. 120; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.