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 8. Mine Openings and Escapeways.

§ 45.1-161.162. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Mine openings.

A. Except as provided in § 45.1-161.164, there shall be at least two travel ways, entries, or openings to the surface from each section of a mine worked. All longwall panels shall be developed with at least three entries; however, if new technology becomes available pursuant to which two-entry systems may be safely developed, such technology may be used, with the approval of the Chief.

B. One of the required travel ways may be the haulage road.

C. The first opening shall not be made through an adjoining mine. The second opening may be made through an adjoining mine.

D. One of the required travel ways shall be designated as the primary escapeway and shall be in intake air.

E. After July 1, 1999, new surface structures where miners congregate or where the mine map or other official records are kept at the mine shall be offset not less than fifteen feet from the nearest side of any mine opening, or otherwise located to be out of the direct line of possible forces coming out of the mine should an explosion occur, unless otherwise approved by the Chief.

Code 1950, §§ 45-71, 45-71.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-94, 45.1-95; 1984, c. 228; 1985, c. 395; 1990, c. 372; 1992, c. 360; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256.

§ 45.1-161.163. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Separation of openings.

A. In drift or slope mines, openings shall be separated by not less than 50 feet of natural strata, unless specifically approved in the roof control plan. All connections between openings not used for the coursing of air, travel, or haulage shall be closed with stoppings of fireproof material.

B. In shaft mines, openings shall be separated by not less than 200 feet of natural strata.

Code 1950, § 45-71; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-94; 1994, c. 28; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.164. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Number of miners in openings.

Until the two travel ways are made as required by § 45.1-161.162, not more than twenty miners shall work underground in the mine at one time. No additional development shall be permitted until the connection is made to the second opening. In mines where final pillar removal operations necessitate closing the second opening, not more than twenty miners shall be permitted to work in the mine.

Code 1950, § 45-71; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-94; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.165. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Maintenance of mine openings.

Mine openings that are used for entering and leaving the mine and other required travelways shall be kept in good condition and shall at all times be maintained in a safe condition.

Code 1950, § 45-71; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-94; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.

§ 45.1-161.166. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Signs, life lines, and equipment.

A. Direction signs shall be posted conspicuously at all points where the travel way to the mine opening, escapeway, or escapement shaft is intercepted by other travel ways. The signs shall indicate the direction of the place of exit, manways, and escapeways.

B. Continuous life lines shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the approved emergency response plan pursuant to subsection A of § 45.1-161.202.

C. Escapeways shall be equipped with all necessary stairways, ladders, cleated walkways, or other equipment approved by the Chief. All equipment shall be installed in such manner that persons using it in emergencies may do so quickly and without undue hazard.

Code 1950, §§ 45-71, 45-71.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-94, 45.1-95; 1984, c. 228; 1985, c. 395; 1990, c. 372; 1992, c. 360; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 2011, cc. 826, 862.

§ 45.1-161.167. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Examination of escapeways.

The mine foreman shall examine all escapeways for hazardous conditions at least once per week. The mine foreman shall mark his initials and the date at the places examined, and if hazardous conditions are found they shall be reported promptly. A record of these examinations and tests shall be kept at the mine.

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; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.168. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Longwall escape routes and plan.

A. The operator of any mine which uses longwalls as a method of mining shall maintain an accessible travel route off the tailgate end of the longwall working face. He shall familiarize all miners working on the longwall section with the procedures to follow for escape from the section, and shall also inform these miners at any time during which the travel route is impassable.

B. The operator shall develop a plan for use if the travel route becomes impassable. The plan shall address (i) notification of miners that the travel way is blocked and of the method and timetable for reestablishment of the travel way, (ii) re-instruction of miners regarding escapeways and escape procedures in the event of an emergency, (iii) re-instruction of miners on the availability and use of self-contained self-rescue devices, (iv) monitoring and evaluation of the air entering the longwall section, (v) location and effectiveness of the two-way communication systems, and (vi) a means of transportation from the longwall section to the main line. The plan provisions shall remain in effect until a travel way is reestablished on the tailgate side of a longwall section. Such an operation shall include provisions for such protective devices as fire extinguishers and respirators for miners working on the longwall section.

Code 1950, § 45-71.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-95; 1984, c. 228; 1985, c. 395; 1990, c. 372; 1992, c. 360; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.169. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Fire protection.

A. Shafts and partitions therein shall be as nearly fireproof as is practicable.

B. Where there is danger of fire entering the mine, openings shall have adequate protection against surface fires or hazardous volumes of smoke entering the mine.

Code 1950, § 45-71.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-95; 1984, c. 228; 1985, c. 395; 1990, c. 372; 1992, c. 360; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774.

§ 45.1-161.170. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Unused openings.

All unused and abandoned surface openings shall be effectively closed or fenced against unauthorized entrance.

Code 1950, § 45-71.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-95; 1984, c. 228; 1985, c. 395; 1990, c. 372; 1992, c. 360; 1994, c. 28; 1999, c. 256.