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

Article 5. Explosives and Blasting.

§ 45.1-161.126. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Surface storage of explosives.

A. Separate surface magazines shall be provided for the storage of explosives and detonators.

B. Surface magazines for storing and distributing explosives in amounts exceeding 150 pounds shall be:

1. Reasonably bulletproof and constructed of incombustible material or covered with fire-resistive material. The roofs of magazines so located that it is impossible to fire bullets directly through the roof from the ground need not be bulletproof, but where it is possible to fire bullets directly through them, roofs shall be made bullet-resistant by material construction, or by a ceiling that forms a tray containing not less than a four-inch thickness of sand, or by other methods;

2. Provided with doors constructed of three-eighth inch steel plate lined with a two-inch thickness of wood, or the equivalent;

3. Provided with dry floors made of wood or other nonsparking material and have no metal exposed inside the magazine;

4. Provided with suitable warning signs so located that a bullet passing directly through the face of a sign will not strike the magazine;

5. Provided with properly screened ventilators;

6. Equipped with no openings except for entrance and ventilation;

7. Kept locked securely when unattended; and

8. Electrically bonded and grounded if constructed of metal.

C. Surface magazines for storing detonators need not be bulletproof, but they shall conform to the other provisions of subsection B regarding the storage of explosives.

D. Explosives in amounts of 150 pounds or less or 5,000 detonators or less shall be stored in accordance with preceding standards or in separate locked box-type magazines. Box-type magazines may also be used as distributing magazines when quantities do not exceed those mentioned. Box-type magazines shall be constructed strongly of two-inch hardwood or the equivalent. Metal magazines shall be lined with nonsparking material. No magazine shall be placed in a building containing oil, grease, gasoline, wastepaper or other highly flammable material; nor shall a magazine be placed within 20 feet of a stove, furnace, open fire or flame.

E. Magazines shall be located not less than 300 feet from any mine opening. However, in the event that a magazine cannot be practicably located at such a distance, a magazine may be located less than 300 feet from any mine opening, if it is sufficiently barricaded and approved by the Chief. Unless approved by the Chief, magazines shall not be located closer to occupied buildings, public roads, or passenger railways than allowed in the "American Table of Distances for Storage of Explosive Materials."

F. The supply kept in distribution magazines shall be limited to approximately a 48-hour supply, and such supplies of explosives and detonators may be distributed from the same magazine, if separated by at least a four-inch substantially fastened hardwood partition or equivalent barrier.

G. The area surrounding magazines for not less than 25 feet in all directions shall be kept free of rubbish, dry grass or other materials of a combustible nature.

H. If the explosives magazine is illuminated electrically, vapor-proof lamps shall be installed and wired so as to present minimum fire and contact hazards.

I. Only nonmetallic tools shall be used for opening wooden explosives containers. Extraneous materials shall not be stored with explosives or detonators in an explosives magazine.

Code 1950, § 45-53.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-44; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.127. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Underground transportation of explosives.

A. Explosives or detonators carried anywhere underground by any person shall be in individual containers. Such containers shall be constructed substantially of nonconductive material, maintained in good condition, and kept closed.

B. Explosives or detonators transported underground in cars moved by means of a locomotive or rope, or in shuttle cars, shall be in substantially covered cars or in special substantially covered containers used specifically for transporting detonators or explosives, and only under the following conditions:

1. The bodies and covers of such cars and containers shall be constructed or lined with nonconductive material;

2. If explosives and detonators are hauled in the same explosive car or in the same special container, they shall be separated by at least a four-inch substantially fastened hardwood partition or equivalent barrier;

3. Explosives, detonators, or other blasting devices shall not be transported on the same trip with miners;

4. When explosives or detonators are transported in special cars or containers in cars, they shall be hauled in special trips not connected to any other trip; however, this shall not prohibit the use of such additional cars as needed to lower a rope trip, or to haul supplies including timbers. Materials so transported shall not project above the top of the car. In no case shall flammable materials such as oil or grease be hauled on the same trip with explosives; and

5. Explosives or detonators shall not be hauled into or out of a mine within five minutes preceding or following a man-trip or any other trip. If traveling against the air current, the man-trip shall precede the explosives trip; if traveling with the air current, the man-trip shall follow the explosives trip.

C. In low coal seams where it is impractical to comply with subsection B, explosives may be transported in the original and unopened case, or in suitable individual containers, to the underground distribution magazine.

D. Explosives and detonators shall be transported underground by belt only under the following conditions:

1. They shall be transported in the original and unopened case, in special closed cases constructed of nonconductive material, or in suitable individual containers;

2. Clearance requirements shall be the same as those for transporting miners on belts;

3. Suitable loading and unloading stations shall be provided; and

4. Stop controls shall be provided at loading and unloading points, and an authorized person shall supervise the loading and unloading of explosives and detonators.

E. Neither explosives nor detonators shall be transported on flight or shaking conveyors, scrapers, mechanical loading machines, locomotives, cutting machines, drill trucks, or any self-propelled mobile equipment; however, this shall not prohibit the transportation of explosives or detonators in special closed containers in shuttle cars or in equipment designed especially to transport such explosives or detonators.

Code 1950, § 45-53.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-46; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.128. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Underground storage of explosives.

A. When supplies of explosives and detonators for use in one or more sections are stored underground, they shall be kept in section boxes or magazines of substantial construction with no metal exposed on the inside. Such boxes or magazines shall be located at least twenty-five feet from roadways and power wires, and in a reasonably dry, well rock-dusted location protected from falls of roof. In pitching beds, where it is not possible to comply with the location requirement, such boxes shall be placed in niches cut into the solid coal or rock.

B. When explosives or detonators are stored in the section, they shall be kept in separate boxes or magazines not less than twelve feet apart if feasible; if kept in the same box or magazine, they shall be separated by at least a four-inch substantially fastened hardwood partition or the equivalent. Not more than a forty-eight-hour supply of explosives or detonators shall be stored underground in such boxes or magazines.

C. Explosives and detonators, kept near the face for the use of workmen, shall be kept in separate individual closed containers, in niches in the rib, not less than twelve feet apart, at least fifty feet from the working place and out of the line of blast. Such containers shall be constructed of substantial material and maintained electrically nonconductive. Where it is physically impracticable to comply with such distance requirements, the explosives and detonator containers shall be stored in the safest available place not less than fifteen feet from any pipe, rail, conveyor, haulage road, or power line, not less than twelve feet apart, and at least fifty feet from the working face and out of line of blast.

D. Explosives and detonators shall be kept in their containers until immediately before use at the working faces.

Code 1950, § 45-53.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-47; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.129. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Blasting practices; penalty.

A. All explosives shall be of the permissible type except where addressed in the plan for shaft and slope development required by § 45.1-161.250 B.

B. All explosives shall be used as follows:

1. Explosives shall be fired only with electric detonators of proper strength;

2. Explosives shall be fired with permissible shot-firing units, unless firing is done from the surface when all persons are out of the mine, or in accordance with a plan approved by the Chief;

3. Boreholes in coal shall not be drilled beyond the limits of the cut where the coal is cut nor into the roof or floor;

4. Boreholes shall be cleaned, and shall be checked to see that they are placed properly and are of correct depth in relation to the cut, before being charged;

5. All blasting charges in coal shall have a burden of at least eighteen inches in all directions if the height of the coal permits;

6. Boreholes shall be stemmed with at least twenty-four inches of incombustible material, or at least one-half of the length of the hole shall be stemmed if the hole is less than four feet in depth. The Chief may approve the use of other stemming devices;

7. Examinations for gas shall be made immediately before firing each shot or group of multiple shots, and after blasting is completed;

8. Shots shall not be fired in any place where a methane level of one percent or greater can be detected with a permissible methane detector;

9. Without approval, charges exceeding one and one-half pounds, but not exceeding three pounds, shall be used only if (i) boreholes are six feet or more in depth; (ii) the explosives are charged in a continuous train, with no cartridges deliberately deformed or crushed; (iii) all cartridges are in contact with each other, with the end cartridges touching the back of the hole and the stemming, respectively; and (iv) permissible explosives are used; however, the three-pound limit shall not apply to solid rock work;

10. Any solid shooting shall be done in compliance with conditions prescribed by the Chief;

11. Shots shall be fired by a certified underground shot firer;

12. Boreholes shall not be charged while any other work is being done at the face, and the shot or shots shall be fired before any other work is done in the zone of danger from blasting except that which is necessary to safeguard the miners;

13. Only nonmetallic tamping bars, including a nonmetallic tamping bar with a nonsparking metallic scraper on one end, shall be used for charging and tamping boreholes;

14. The leg wires of electric detonators shall be kept shunted until ready to connect to the firing cable;

15. The roof and faces of working places shall be tested before and after firing each shot or group of multiple shots;

16. Ample warning shall be given before shots are fired, and care shall be taken to ascertain that all miners are in the clear;

17. All miners shall be removed from the working place and the immediately adjoining working place or places to a distance of at least 100 feet and accounted for before shots are fired;

18. Mixed types or brands of explosives shall not be charged or fired in any borehole;

19. Adobe (mudcap) or other open, unconfined shots shall not be fired in any mine except those types approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Chief;

20. Power wires and cables that could contact blasting cables or leg wires shall be de-energized during charging and firing;

21. Firing shots from a properly installed and protected blasting circuit may be permitted by the Chief;

22. No miner shall return, or shall be allowed to return, to the working place after the firing of any shot or shots until the smoke has reasonably cleared away;

23. Before returning to work and beginning to load coal, slate or refuse, a miner shall make a careful examination of the condition of the roof and do what is necessary to make the working place safe; and

24. An examination for fire shall be made of the working area after any blasting.

C. It shall be unlawful for an operator, his agent, or mine foreman to cause or permit any solid shooting to be done without first having obtained a written permit from the Chief. It shall be unlawful for any miner to shoot coal from the solid without first obtaining permission to do so from the operator, his agent, or mine foreman. A violation of this subsection is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, §§ 45-53.1, 45-53.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-48; 1978, c. 729; 1981, c. 179; 1984, c. 229; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.130. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Blasting cables.

Blasting cables shall be:

1. Well insulated and as long as may be necessary to permit the shot firer to get in a safe place around a corner;

2. Short-circuited at the battery end until ready to attach to the blasting unit;

3. Staggered as to length or the ends kept well separated when attached to the detonator leg wires; and

4. Kept clear of power wires and all other possible sources of active or stray electric currents.

Code 1950, § 45-53.6; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-49; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.131. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Misfires.

A. Where misfires occur with electric detonators, a waiting period of at least fifteen minutes shall elapse before a miner shall be allowed to return to the shot area. After such failure, the blasting cable shall be disconnected from the source of power and the battery ends short-circuited before electric connections are examined.

B. Explosives shall be removed by firing a separate charge at least two feet away from, and parallel to, the misfired charge or by washing the stemming and the charge from the borehole with water, or by inserting and firing a new primer after the stemming has been washed out.

C. A very careful search of the working place, and, if necessary, of the coal shall be conducted after the coal reaches the tipple after blasting a misfired hole to recover any undetonated explosive.

D. The handling of a misfired shot shall be directly supervised by the mine foreman or a certified person designated by him.

Code 1950, § 45-53.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-50; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.132. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Explosives and blasting practices in shaft and slope operations.

A. Blasting areas in shaft or slope operations shall be covered with mats or materials when the excavations are too shallow to retain the blasted material.

B. If explosives are in the shaft or slope when an electrical storm approaches, all miners shall be removed from such working places until the storm has passed.

1978, c. 729, § 45.1-53.1; 1994, c. 28.