Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Subtitle II. Coal Mining
Chapter 9. Requirements Applicable to Surface Coal Mines
10/4/2022

Chapter 9. Requirements Applicable to Surface Coal Mines.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 45.2-900. Scope of chapter.

This chapter applies to the operation of any surface coal mine in the Commonwealth and supplements the provisions of Chapter 5 (§ 45.2-500 et seq.).

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.253; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-901. Regulations governing conditions and practices at surface coal mines.

A. The Chief may, after consultation with the Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board and in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), adopt regulations necessary to ensure safe and healthy working conditions in surface coal mines in the Commonwealth. Such regulations governing surface coal mines shall relate to:

1. Safety and health standards for the protection of the life, health, and property of, and the prevention of injuries to, persons involved in or likely to be affected by any surface coal mining. Such regulations shall include standards for the control of dust concentration levels; the installation, maintenance, and use of electrical devices, equipment, cables, and wires; fire protection; the use and storage of explosives; hoistings; drilling; loading and haulage areas; the training of surface miners; the preparation of responses to emergencies; examinations of conditions at a surface mine site; and reporting requirements;

2. The storage or disposal of any matter or material that is (i) extracted or disturbed as the result of a surface coal mining operation or (ii) used in the surface coal mining operation or for the refinement or preparation of the material that is extracted from the surface coal mining operation, so that such matter or material does not threaten the health, safety, or property of miners or the general public; and

3. The operation, inspection, operating condition, and movement of drilling equipment and machines to protect the health, safety, and property of miners and the general public.

B. The Chief shall adopt no regulation establishing a requirement for the operation of, or for conditions at, a surface coal mine that is inconsistent with any requirement established by the Act.

Code 1950, §§ 45-8, 45-84; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-104; 1972, c. 784; 1974, c. 323; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 118; 1990, c. 963; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.254; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-902. Standards for regulations.

In adopting regulations pursuant to § 45.2-901, the Chief shall consider:

1. Standards utilized and generally recognized by the surface coal mining industry;

2. Standards established by recognized professional coal mining organizations and groups;

3. Standards established by federal mine safety laws;

4. Research, demonstrations, experiments, and such other information that is available regarding the maintenance of the highest degree of safety protection, including the latest available scientific data in the field, the technical feasibility of the standards, and the experience gained under the Act and other mine safety laws; and

5. Such other criteria necessary for the protection of the safety and health of miners and other persons or property likely to be affected by surface coal mines or related operations.

Code 1950, §§ 45-8, 45-84; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-104; 1972, c. 784; 1974, c. 323; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 118; 1990, c. 963; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.255; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 2. Work Area Examinations, Recordkeeping, and Reporting.

§ 45.2-903. Safety examinations.

A. An on-shift examination of the work area, including any pit, auger, thin seam, or highwall operation, shall be conducted by a certified person for each production shift and at such other times or frequency as the Chief designates as necessary for hazardous conditions.

B. A pre-operational examination of all mobile equipment shall be conducted by an authorized person.

C. A pre-shift examination shall be conducted by a certified person for certain hazardous conditions designated by the Chief.

D. Each mine refuse pile, as defined in § 45.2-617, shall be examined by an authorized person on each day on which any person works at such location.

E. The location of each natural gas pipeline on a permitted surface mine area shall be identified and conspicuously marked so that equipment operators can readily identify the location of such pipeline. A pre-shift examination shall be conducted of the location of each pipeline whenever the work area approaches within 500 feet of such pipeline unless otherwise approved by the Chief.

F. An air quality examination shall be conducted by a certified person when a surface coal mining operation intersects an underground mine, auger hole, or other underground working.

G. At least one examination for methane shall be conducted for each production shift in each surface installation, enclosure, or other facility in which coal is handled or stored. Each such area shall also be tested for methane before any activity involving welding, cutting, or an open flame. An examination conducted pursuant to this subsection shall be made by an authorized person certified to make gas tests.

H. Electrical equipment and wiring shall be inspected as often as necessary but at least once per month.

I. Each fire extinguisher shall be examined at least once every six months.

J. Each area of an inactive surface coal mine shall be examined for hazardous conditions by a mine foreman immediately before any miner is permitted to enter into such area to take emergency actions to preserve a mine.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-61, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-42, 45.1-65; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 118, 120; 1982, c. 385; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.256; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-904. Records of examinations.

A. Documentation of examinations and testing conducted pursuant to § 45.2-903 shall be recorded in a mine record book provided for that purpose. Documentation shall include records of hazardous conditions found in the work area. However, examinations of fire extinguishers shall be conducted by an authorized person and documentation shall be accomplished by recording the date of the examination on a permanent tag attached to each extinguisher.

B. The actual methane readings taken during examinations required under the Act shall be recorded in the mine record book.

C. The surface foreman shall maintain and sign a daily record book. Where any such report discloses a hazardous condition, the surface foreman shall take prompt action to have such condition corrected, barricaded, or posted with warning signs.

D. Each record shall be countersigned by the supervisor of the examiner creating the record. Where such record discloses a hazardous condition, the countersigning of the record shall be performed no later than the end of the next regularly scheduled working shift following the shift for which the examination record was completed, and the person countersigning shall ensure that actions to eliminate or control the hazardous condition have been taken. Where such record does not disclose a hazardous condition, the countersigning shall be completed within 24 hours following the end of the shift for which the examination record was completed. The operator may authorize another person who has authority equivalent to that of the supervisor to act in the supervisor's temporary absence to read and countersign records and ensure that action is taken to eliminate any hazardous condition disclosed in a record.

E. All records of inspections shall be open for inspection by any interested person and maintained at the mine site for a minimum of one year.

Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-61, 45-68.1, 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-42, 45.1-65; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 118, 120; 1982, c. 385; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.257; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2007, cc. 894, 914; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-905. Areas with safety or health hazards; duties of surface mine foreman.

A. Any hazardous condition shall be corrected promptly or the affected area shall be barricaded or posted with warning signs specifying the hazard and proper safety procedures. Any imminent danger that cannot be removed within a reasonable time shall be reported to the Chief by the quickest available means.

B. The surface mine foreman shall see that the requirements of the Act pertaining to his duties and to the health and safety of the miners are fully complied with at all times.

C. The surface mine foreman shall see that every miner employed to work at the mine, before beginning work therein, is aware of any hazardous condition incident to his work at the mine.

Code 1950, §§ 45-7, 45-12, 45-14.1, 45-35, 45-40, 45-61, 45-68.1, 45-68.4, 45-69, 45-73, 45-75, 45-78, 45-79, 45-81, 45-83; 1950, p. 156; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-17, 45.1-21, 45.1-42, 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 118, 222, 489, 729; 1982, c. 255; 1984, cc. 178, 590; 1985, c. 500; 1988, c. 577; 1993, cc. 170, 171, 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.258; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2015, cc. 103, 397; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 3. Personal Protection.

§ 45.2-906. Personal protection devices and practices.

A. Every person at a surface coal mine shall wear the following protection in the specified conditions:

1. A hard hat in and around any area of a mine where falling objects could cause injury.

2. Hard-toed footwear in and around a mine.

3. Safety goggles or a shield where there is a hazard of flying material.

4. A protective shield or goggles when welding.

5. Snug-fitting clothes when working around moving parts or machinery.

6. Gloves where the hands could be injured. Gauntlet cuffed gloves are prohibited around moving machinery.

B. The operator shall supply ear protection to any miner upon request.

C. Every person assigned to or performing duties at a surface mine work area shall wear reflective material adequate to make the person visible from all sides Such reflective material shall be placed on the hard hat and at least one other item of outer clothing, such as a belt, suspenders, a jacket, a coat, coveralls, a shirt, pants, or a vest.

Code 1950, §§ 45-72, 45-86; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-26, 45.1-99; 1978, cc. 489, 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.259; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-907. Housekeeping.

A. Good housekeeping shall be practiced in and around every building, shaft, slope, yard, or other area of the mine. Such practices include cleanliness, orderly storage of materials, and the removal of possible sources of injury, such as stumbling hazards, protruding nails, broken glass, and material that could fall or roll.

B. Every surface mine structure, enclosure, or other facility shall be maintained in a safe condition.

Code 1950, § 45-85.8; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-37; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.260; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-908. Noxious fumes.

Painting or any operation that creates noxious fumes shall be performed only in a well-ventilated atmosphere.

Code 1950, § 45-85.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-34; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.261; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 4. First Aid Equipment; Medical Care; Emergency Medical Services Providers.

§ 45.2-909. First aid equipment.

Every surface coal mine shall have adequate supplies of first aid equipment as determined by the Chief. Such supplies shall be located at strategic locations at the mine site so as to be available in a reasonable response time. Such supplies shall be encased in suitable sanitary receptacles designed to be reasonably dust-tight and moisture proof. In addition to the supplies in the receptacles, blankets, splints, and properly constructed stretchers in good condition shall be provided at every mine. All of the first aid supplies shall be available for use by any person employed at the mine. No first aid supplies shall be removed or diverted without authorization except in case of injury at the mine.

Code 1950, § 45-69.6; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-101; 1978, c. 94; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.262; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-910. First aid training.

A. Each surface foreman shall complete and pass a first aid course of study as prescribed by the Chief. The Chief may utilize the Department's educational and training facilities in the conduct of such training programs and may require the cooperation of mine operators in making such programs available to their employees.

B. Each operator of a surface coal mine shall make first aid training, including refresher training, available upon request to every miner employed at such mine.

1977, c. 679, § 45.1-101.2; 1978, c. 94; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.263; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-911. Attention to injured persons.

A. Prompt medical attention shall be provided in the event of an injury, and adequate facilities shall be made available for transporting injured persons to a hospital where necessary.

B. Safe transportation shall be provided to move injured persons from the site where the injury occurred to an area that is accessible to emergency transportation.

C. The operator of each mine shall post directional signs that are conspicuously located to identify each route of ingress to and egress from any mine located off of a public road.

Code 1950, § 45-69.6; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-101; 1978, c. 94; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.264; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 5. Fire Prevention and Fire Control.

§ 45.2-912. Firefighting equipment; duties in case of fire; fire precaution in transportation of mining equipment; fire prevention generally.

A. Each mine shall be provided with suitable firefighting equipment that is adequate for the size of the mine and includes at least three 20-pound dry chemical fire extinguishers. Equipment and devices used for the detection, warning, and extinguishing of fires shall be suitable in type, size, and quantity for the type of fire hazard that could be encountered. Such equipment and devices shall be strategically located and plainly identified.

B. Suitable fire extinguishers shall be provided at or on each (i) electrical station, such as a substation, transformer station, or permanent pump station; (ii) piece of self-propelled mobile equipment; (iii) belt head; (iv) area used for the storage of flammable materials; (v) fueling station; and (vi) other area that could constitute a fire hazard. Such fire extinguishers shall be placed so as to be out of the smoke in case of a fire.

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, § 45.1-161.265; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-913. Duties in case of fire.

A. If a fire occurs, the person discovering it and any other person in the vicinity of the fire shall make a prompt effort to extinguish it. When a fire that could endanger persons at the mine cannot be extinguished immediately, all persons shall be withdrawn promptly from the area of the fire.

B. In case of any unplanned fire at or about a mine that is not extinguished within 30 minutes of discovery, the operator or agent shall report the fire to the Chief by the quickest available means, giving all information known to the operator or agent regarding the fire. The Chief shall take prompt action and decide whether to go in person or dispatch qualified subordinates to the scene of the fire for consultation and assistance 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 his designated subordinate shall be final, but such decision shall be given to the operator in writing in order to have the force of an order.

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, § 45.1-161.266; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-914. Fire precautions.

A. An examination for fire shall be made after every blasting operation.

B. No person shall smoke or use an open flame within 25 feet of any location used to handle or store flammable or combustible liquids or where an arc or flame could cause a fire or explosion.

C. Any area surrounding a flammable liquid storage tank or electrical substation or transformer shall be kept free of combustible material for at least 25 feet in every direction. Each such storage tank, substation, or transformer shall be posted with readily visible fire hazard warning signs.

D. Any structure or area used for storage of flammable materials shall be constructed of fire resistant material; kept well-ventilated, clean, and orderly; and posted with readily visible fire hazard warning signs.

E. Every fuel line shall be equipped with a shut-off valve at its source. Each such valve shall be readily accessible and maintained in good operating condition.

F. Every battery charging area shall be well-ventilated and posted with warning signs prohibiting smoking or open flames within 25 feet.

G. Oil, grease, flammable hydraulic fluid, and other flammable materials shall be kept in closed metal containers and separated from other materials so as to not create a fire hazard.

H. Combustible materials, grease, lubricants, paints, and other flammable materials and liquids shall not be allowed to accumulate where they could create a fire hazard. Provision shall be made to prevent the accumulation of such material on any equipment, at any storage area, and at any location where the material is used.

I. Electric motors, switches, lighting fixtures, and controls shall be protected by dust-tight construction.

J. Precautions shall be taken to ensure that no spark or other hot material results in a fire when welding or cutting. No welding or cutting with an arc or flame shall be done in any excessively dusty atmosphere or location. Firefighting apparatus shall be readily available when welding or cutting is performed.

K. Precautions shall be taken before applying heat, cutting, or welding on any pipe or container that has contained a flammable or combustible material.

L. Every oxygen or acetylene bottle shall be (i) stored in a rack constructed and designated for the storage of such bottles with their caps in place and (ii) secured when not in use. Such bottles shall not be stored near oil, grease, or other flammable material.

M. Every oxygen and acetylene gauge and regulator shall be kept clean and free of oil, grease, and other combustible materials.

N. Every belt conveyor shall be equipped with a control switch to automatically stop the driving motor of the conveyor in the event that the belt is stopped by slipping on the driving pulley as a result of breakage or other accident.

O. The area surrounding every main fan installation or other mine opening shall be kept free from grass, weeds, underbrush, and other combustible materials for 25 feet in every direction.

P. Every internal combustion engine, except a diesel engine, shall be shut off prior to fueling.

Code 1950, § 45-85.9; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-39; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.267; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 6. Surface Equipment.

§ 45.2-915. Haulage and mobile equipment; operating condition.

A. All mobile equipment shall be maintained in a safe operating condition.

B. Positive-acting stopblocks shall be used where necessary to protect persons from the danger of moving or runaway haulage equipment.

C. Where it is necessary for persons to cross conveyors regularly, suitable crossing facilities shall be provided.

D. No person shall get on or off moving equipment.

E. When the equipment operator is present, any person getting on or off mobile equipment shall notify the operator before doing so.

F. Mobile equipment shall not be left unattended unless the brakes are set. Mobile equipment with wheels or tracks, when parked on a grade, shall either be blocked or turned in to a bank unless the lowering of the bucket or blade to the ground will prevent movement and such bucket or blade is lowered.

G. No person shall work on or from a piece of mobile equipment in a raised position unless the equipment is specifically designed to lift a person.

H. Water, debris, or spilled materials that could create a hazard to moving equipment shall be removed.

I. Where seating facilities are provided on self-propelled mobile equipment, the operator shall be seated before such equipment is moved. No person shall be allowed to ride on top of self-propelled mobile equipment.

J. The operator of a piece of self-propelled haulage equipment shall sound a warning before he starts such equipment and as he approaches any place where a person is or is likely to be.

K. Each mantrip shall be operated independently under the charge of an authorized person.

L. Each mantrip shall be maintained in safe operating condition. Mantrips shall be provided in sufficient number to prevent any mantrip from becoming overloaded.

M. No employee shall board or leave a moving mantrip. Each employee shall remain seated while in a moving car and shall proceed in an orderly manner to and from a mantrip.

Code 1950, §§ 45-69.1 to 45-69.3, 45-69.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-71 to 45.1-74; 1979, c. 315; 1983, c. 70; 1985, cc. 296, 302; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.268; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-916. Equipment operation.

A. Equipment operating speeds, conditions, and characteristics shall be prudent and consistent with the conditions of the roadway, grade, clearance, visibility, and traffic and the type and use of equipment.

B. Any vehicle that follows another vehicle shall do so at a safe distance; passing shall be limited to areas of adequate clearance and visibility.

C. Mobile equipment shall be operated under power control at all times and each mobile equipment operator shall have full control of the equipment while in motion.

D. Before starting or moving equipment, an equipment operator shall be certain by signal or other means that all persons are clear.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.269; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-917. Safety measures on equipment.

A. Every rubber-tired or crawler-mounted piece of equipment shall have a rollover protective structure to the extent required by 30 C.F.R. § 77.403-1.

B. Each seat belt provided in mobile equipment shall be maintained in safe working condition. Every operator of such equipment shall wear a seat belt when the equipment is in motion.

C. Mobile equipment shall be equipped with adequate brakes and parking brakes.

D. Cab windows shall be of safe design, kept in good condition, and clean for adequate visibility.

E. Any tire shall be deflated before any repair on it is started, and adequate means shall be provided to prevent wheel-locking rims from creating a hazard during tire inflation.

F. An audible warning device and headlights shall be provided on each piece of self-propelled mobile equipment.

G. An automatic backup alarm that is audible above surrounding noise levels shall be provided on each piece of mobile equipment. An automatic reverse-activated strobe light may be substituted for an audible alarm when mobile equipment is operated at night.

H. Each piece of equipment that is raised for repairs or other work shall be securely blocked before any person positions himself where the falling of such equipment could create a hazardous condition.

Code 1950, § 45-69.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-73; 1979, c. 315; 1983, c. 70; 1985, c. 302; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.270; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-918. Transportation of personnel.

No person shall be permitted to ride or otherwise be transported (i) on or in a dipper, shovel, bucket, fork, or clamshell; (ii) on or in the cargo space of a dump truck; (iii) outside the cab or bed of a piece of heavy equipment; or (iv) on or in a chain, belt, or bucket conveyor, unless the item described in clauses (i) through (iv) is specifically designed to transport persons.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.271; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-919. Lighting.

A. Lights shall be provided on or in surface structures as needed.

B. Roads, paths, and walks outside of surface structures shall be kept free from obstructions and shall be well-illuminated if used at night.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-38; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.272; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-920. Shop and other equipment.

A. The following shall be guarded and maintained adequately:

1. Gears, sprockets, pulleys, fan blades or propellers, friction devices, and couplings with protruding bolts or nuts.

2. Shafting and projecting shaft ends that are within seven feet of the floor or the platform level.

3. Belt, chain, or rope drives that are within seven feet of the floor or the platform.

4. Fly wheels. Any fly wheel that extends more than seven feet above the floor shall be guarded to a height of at least seven feet.

5. Circular and band saws and planers.

6. Repair pits. Guards shall be kept in place when a pit is not in use.

7. Counterweights.

8. Mine fans. The approach to any mine fan shall be guarded.

9. Lighting and other electrical equipment that could create a shock hazard or cause personal injury.

B. No machinery shall be repaired or oiled while in motion unless a safe remote oiling device is used.

C. A guard or safety device that is removed from any machine shall be replaced before the machine is put in operation.

D. Every mechanically operated grinding wheel shall be equipped with:

1. Safety washers and tool rests;

2. A substantial retaining hood, the hood opening of which shall not expose more than a 90-degree sector of the wheel. Each such hood shall include a device to control and collect excess rock, metal, or dust particles. If no such device is provided, equivalent protection shall be provided to each employee operating such machinery; and

3. Eyeshields, unless goggles are worn by the operator.

E. The operator or his agent shall develop proper procedures for examining for potential hazards, completing maintenance, and operating each type of centrifugal pump. The procedures shall, at a minimum, address the manufacturers' recommendations for start-up and shutdown of each type of pump, the proper actions to be taken when a pump is suspected of overheating, the safe location of start and stop switches, and the actions to be taken when signs of structural metal fatigue, such as cracks in the frame, damaged cover mounting brackets, or missing bolts or other components, are detected. Every miner who repairs, maintains, or operates any such pump shall be trained in these procedures.

Code 1950, § 45-85.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-88; 1978, c. 118; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.273; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-921. Hydraulic hoses.

Every hydraulic hose that is used on equipment shall have the hydraulic hose manufacturer's rated pressure in pounds per square inch (psi) permanently affixed on the outer surface of the hose and repeated at least every two feet. Every hose installed on an automatic displacement hydraulic system shall either (i) have a four-to-one safety factor based on the ratio between minimum burst pressure and the setting of the hydraulic unloading system, such as a relief valve, or (ii) meet the minimum hose pressure requirements set by the hydraulic equipment manufacturer per the applicable hose standards for each type of equipment. No hydraulic hose shall be used in an application where the hydraulic unloading system is set higher than the hose's rated pressure.

1985, c. 612, § 45.1-88.1; 1988, c. 301; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.274; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 7. Travel Ways and Loading and Haulage Areas.

§ 45.2-922. Stairways, platforms, runways, and floor openings.

A. Stairways, platforms, and runways shall be provided where persons work or travel.

B. Stairways, elevated platforms, elevated runways, and floor openings shall be equipped with suitable handrails or guardrails.

C. Stairways, elevated platforms, runways, and floor openings shall be provided with toe boards. Stairways, platforms, and runways shall be kept clear of stumbling and slipping hazards and shall be maintained in good repair.

Code 1950, § 45-85.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-36; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.275; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-923. Loading and haulage work area requirements.

A. Every ramp or dump shall be of solid construction, ample width, and ample clearance, and headroom shall be kept reasonably free of spillage.

B. Berms or guards shall be provided on the outer bank of every elevated haulage road. Every berm shall be constructed of substantial material to the mid-axle height of the largest vehicle regularly used on such haulage road. The width and height of the berm shall be constructed on a two-to-one ratio when it is constructed of unconsolidated material. Other equally effective and appropriate methods may be used for berms.

C. Berms, bumper blocks, safety hooks, or similar means shall be provided to prevent overtravel and overturning at dumping stations.

D. Dumping locations and haulage roads shall be kept reasonably free of water, debris, and spillage. Water, debris, or spilled material that creates a hazard to moving equipment shall be removed.

E. Every haulage road constructed on or after July 1, 2005, shall be constructed at least one and one-half times the width of the widest equipment in use, and any haulage road that is used for passing shall be constructed at least three times the width of the widest equipment in use. In any area in which it is not possible to construct the haulage road to at least the applicable minimum width, the foreman shall establish procedures for safe travel of haulage vehicles.

F. Traffic rules, signals, and warning signs shall be standardized at each mine and shall be posted. Such rules, signals, and signs shall include rules for the travel of on-road vehicles operating near off-road haulers in work areas.

G. Every dumping station at which material is dumped over an embankment shall be designed to minimize backing and, where conditions permit, to provide for perpendicular travel to allow the equipment operator to observe the dumping station for changing conditions prior to backing. Reflectorized signs, strobe lights, or other available means shall be used to clearly indicate each dumping location. This subsection shall not apply to a dumping station (i) that is moved after each dumped load as mining progresses, (ii) where spotters are being used, or (iii) where loads are dumped short and pushed over the embankment. Any dumping station that could interfere with a haulage road or work area below shall be clearly marked with signs to prevent further dumping, unless other effective precautions are taken to protect such haulage road or work area below the dump station.

Code 1950, § 45-85.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-36; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.276; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2010, cc. 809, 857; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-924. Equipment operation.

A. If a truck spotter is used, he shall be well in the clear while any truck is backing into dumping position and dumping. Every truck spotter shall use lights at night to direct backing and dumping operations.

B. Every dipper, bucket, scraper blade, or similar movable part shall be secured or lowered to the ground when not in use.

C. Equipment that is to be hauled shall be loaded and protected so as to prevent sliding or spillage. When moving between work areas, the equipment shall be secured in the travel position.

D. Tow bars shall be used to tow heavy equipment and a safety chain shall be used in conjunction with each tow bar.

E. Dust control measures shall be taken so as to prevent the obstruction of visibility of any equipment operator.

F. No dipper, bucket, loading boom, or other heavy load shall be swung over the cab of haulage equipment until the driver is out of the cab and in a safe location, unless the equipment is designed specifically to protect the driver from falling material.

G. Lights, flares, or other warning devices shall be posted when parked equipment creates a hazard for other vehicles.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.277; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 8. Dust Control.

§ 45.2-925. Control of dust and combustible material.

A. Where a surface coal mining operation raises an excessive amount of dust into the air, such dust shall be allayed at its sources by the use of water, water with a wetting agent added to it, or another effective method.

B. Drilling in rock shall be done wet or other means of dust control shall be used.

C. Loose coal, coal dust, oil, grease, or other combustible materials shall not be permitted to accumulate excessively on equipment or surface structures.

Code 1950, §§ 45-77.1, 45-85.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-66, 45.1-87; 1979, c. 315; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.278; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 9. Electricity.

§ 45.2-926. Overhead high-potential power lines; surface transmission lines; electric wiring in surface buildings.

A. Overhead high-potential power lines shall be (i) placed at least 15 feet above the ground and 20 feet above any driveway or haulage road, (ii) installed on insulators, and (iii) supported and guarded to prevent contact with other circuits.

B. Surface transmission lines shall be protected against short circuits and lightning.

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, § 45.1-161.279; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-927. Transformers.

A. Unless a surface transformer is isolated by elevation to a height of eight feet or more above the ground, it shall be enclosed in a transformer house or surrounded by a suitable fence at least six feet high. If the enclosure or fence is made of metal, such enclosure or fence shall be grounded effectively. The gate or door to the enclosure shall be kept locked at all times unless an authorized person is present.

B. Any surface transformer that contains flammable oil and is installed where it presents a fire hazard shall be provided with a means to drain or confine the oil in the event of a rupture of the transformer casing.

C. Suitable warning signs shall be posted conspicuously at every transformer station on the surface.

D. Every transformer station on the surface shall be kept free of nonessential combustible materials and refuse.

E. No electrical work shall be performed on any low-voltage, medium-voltage, or high-voltage distribution circuit or equipment except by (i) a certified person or (ii) a person who is trained to perform electrical work and to maintain electrical equipment and who is working under the direct supervision of a certified person. Every high-voltage circuit shall be grounded before repair work is performed. Disconnecting devices shall be locked out and suitably tagged by the person who performs electrical or mechanical work on such a circuit or on any equipment connected to the circuit. However, in a case in which such locking out is not possible, such devices shall be opened and suitably tagged by such person. Each lock and tag shall be removed only by the person who installed it or, if such person is unavailable, by a certified person who is authorized by the operator or his agent. However, an employee may, where necessary, repair energized trolley wires if he wears insulated shoes and lineman's gloves.

F. This section does not prohibit a certified electrical repairman from making checks on or troubleshooting an energized circuit or 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 adjustments.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82 to 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-76, 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.280; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-928. Grounding.

A. Every metallic sheath, armor, or conduit enclosing a power conductor shall be electrically continuous throughout and shall be grounded effectively.

B. Every metallic frame, casing, or other enclosure of stationary electric equipment that can become electrified through failure of insulation or by contact with energized parts shall be grounded effectively, or equivalent protection shall be provided.

C. When electric equipment is operated from a three-phase alternating current circuit originating in a transformer that is connected to provide a neutral point, a continuous grounding conductor of adequate size shall be installed and connected to the neutral point and to the frame of the power-utilizing equipment. Such grounding conductor shall be grounded at the neutral point and at intervals along the conductor, if feasible. A suitable circuit breaker or switching device shall be provided having a ground-trip coil connected in series with the grounding conductor to provide effective ground-fault tripping.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-79; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.281; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-929. Circuit breakers and switches.

A. An automatic circuit breaking device or fuse of the correct type and capacity shall be installed so as to protect each piece of electric equipment and power circuit against excessive overload. Wire or another conducting material shall not be used as a substitute for a properly designed fuse, and every circuit breaking device shall be maintained in safe operating condition.

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

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

D. An insulating mat or other electrically nonconductive material shall be kept in place at each power-control switch and at stationary machinery where a shock hazard exists.

E. Suitable warning signs shall be posted conspicuously at every high-voltage installation.

F. Every power wire or cable shall have adequate current-carrying capacity, be guarded from mechanical injury, and be installed in a permanent manner.

G. Every power circuit shall be labeled to indicate the unit or circuit that it controls.

H. All persons shall stay clear of any electrically powered shovel or other similar heavy equipment during an electrical storm.

I. Every device that is installed on or after July 1, 2005, that provides either short circuit protection or protection against overload shall conform to the minimum requirements for protection of electric circuits and equipment of the National Electrical Code in effect at the time of its installation.

J. Every electric conductor installed on or after July 1, 2005, shall be sufficient in size to meet the minimum current-carrying capacity provided for in the National Electrical Code in effect at the time of its installation.

K. Every trailing cable purchased on or after July 1, 2005, shall meet the minimum requirements for ampacity provided in the standards of the Insulated Cable Engineers Association/National Electrical Manufacturers Association in effect at the time such cable is purchased.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.1, 45-82.3, 45-82.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-78, 45.1-80, 45.1-81; 1978, c. 118; 1979, c. 315; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.282; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-930. Electrical trailing cables.

A. Every trailing cable shall be provided with suitable short-circuit protection and a means of disconnecting power from the cable.

B Any temporary splice in a trailing cable shall be made in a workmanlike manner and shall be mechanically strong and well-insulated.

C. The number of temporary, unvulcanized splices in a trailing cable shall be limited to one.

D. Every permanent splice in a trailing cable shall be made mechanically strong, with adequate electrical conductivity and flexibility, and shall be effectively insulated and sealed so as to exclude moisture. The finished splice shall be vulcanized or otherwise treated with suitable materials to provide flame-resistant properties and good bonding to the outer jacket.

E. Every trailing cable shall be protected against mechanical injury.

Code 1950, § 45-82.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-84; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.283; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 10. Explosives and Blasting.

§ 45.2-931. Surface storage of explosives and detonators.

A. Two or more surface magazines shall be provided for the storage of explosives and the separate storage of detonators.

B. Every surface magazine for storing and distributing explosives in an amount exceeding 150 pounds shall be:

1. Reasonably bullet-resistant and constructed of incombustible material or covered with fire-resistant material. The roof of a magazine that is located in such a way as to make it impossible to fire a bullet directly through the roof from the ground need not be bullet-resistant. Where it is possible to fire a bullet directly through a roof from the ground, such roof shall be made bullet-resistant by material construction, by the use of a ceiling that forms a tray containing not less than a four-inch thickness of sand, or by another method;

2. Provided with doors that are constructed of three-eighth-inch steel plate. Such doors shall be 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 located so 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 openings;

7. Kept locked securely when unattended; and

8. Electrically bonded and grounded if constructed of metal.

C. A surface magazine for storing detonators need not be bullet-resistant, but it shall comply with other provisions for storing explosives.

D. Explosives weighing a total of no more than 150 pounds, or detonators numbering 5,000 or fewer, shall be stored either (i) in accordance with the standards set forth in subsection A, B, or C or (ii) in a separate locked box-type magazine. A box-type magazine may also be used as a distributing magazine when the weight of the explosives or the number of detonators does not exceed the limits set forth in this subsection. Every box-type magazine shall be strongly constructed of two-inch hardwood or the equivalent. Every metal magazine shall be lined with nonsparking material. No magazine shall be placed (a) in a building containing oil, grease, gasoline, wastepaper, or other highly flammable material or (b) within 20 feet of a stove, furnace, open fire, or flame.

E. No magazine shall be placed less than 300 feet from any mine opening. However, if a magazine cannot be practicably located at such a distance, it may be located less than 300 feet from a mine opening if it is sufficiently barricaded and is approved by the Chief. Unless approved by the Chief, no magazine shall be located closer to an occupied building, public road, or passenger railway than the distance recommended in the "American Table of Distances for Storage of Explosive Materials" published by the Institute of Makers of Explosives.

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

G. The area surrounding any magazine shall be kept free of rubbish, dry grass, or other materials of a combustible nature for at least 25 feet in every direction.

H. If an explosives magazine is illuminated electrically, each lamp shall be of vapor-proof type and installed and wired so as to present a minimal fire or contact hazard.

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

J. Smoking or carrying smokers' articles or open flames is prohibited in or near any magazine.

Code 1950, § 45-53.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-44; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.284; 2010, cc. 809, 857; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-932. Misfires.

A. Every misfire shall be reported promptly to the mine foreman, and no other work shall be performed in the blasting area until the hazard has been corrected. A waiting period of at least 15 minutes is required before anyone is allowed to any misfired hole. If explosives are suspected of burning in a hole, every person affected shall move to a safe location for one hour or until the danger has passed, whichever time is longer. When such failure involves an electronic detonator, the blasting cable shall be disconnected from the source of power and the battery ends short-circuited before any electrical connection is examined.

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

C. A careful search of the blasting area and, if necessary, of the coal after it reaches the tipple shall be made after blasting a misfired hole to recover any undetonated explosive.

D. The handling of a misfired shot shall occur under the direct supervision of the foreman or an authorized person designated by him.

Code 1950, § 45-53.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-50; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.285; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-933. Minimum blasting practices.

A. If explosives are in use on the surface and an electrical storm approaches, all persons shall be removed from the blast area until the storm has passed.

B. In accordance with the standards set forth in § 45.2-902, the Chief shall adopt regulations regarding the safe storage, transportation, handling, and use of blasting agents and other explosives.

Code 1950, §§ 45-53.1, 45-53.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-48, 45.1-53.1; 1978, c. 729; 1981, c. 179; 1984, c. 229; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.286; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 11. Ground Control.

§ 45.2-934. Ground control.

A. Every surface coal mining operation shall establish and follow a ground control plan approved by the Chief to ensure the safety of workers and others affected by the operation. The ground control plan shall be consistent with prudent engineering design. Mining methods, including benching, shall ensure wall and bank stability in order to obtain a safe overall slope. The ground control plan shall also ensure the safety of every person who is (i) located in a residence or other occupied building; (ii) working or traveling on any roadway; or (iii) located in any other area where persons congregate, work, or travel that could be affected by blasting or by the falling, sliding, or other uncontrolled movement of material. The ground control plan shall identify how residents or occupants of other buildings located down the slope from active workings will be notified when ground-disturbing activities will take place above them and what actions will be taken to protect such residents or occupants from ground control failures during the work.

B. Scaling and removal of loose hazardous material from the top of a pit or from a highwall, wall, bank, or bench shall be completed to ensure a safe work area.

C. Employees and other persons, except those involved in correction of the condition, shall be restricted from any area where hazardous highwall or pit conditions exist.

D. Unless he is required for the purpose of making repairs, no person shall be allowed in any area that is located between equipment and a highwall, wall, bank, or bench if the equipment could hinder escape from falling or sliding material. Special precautions shall be taken when any person is required to perform such repairs.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.287; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 12. Auger and Highwall Mining.

§ 45.2-935. Inspection of electric equipment and wiring; checking and testing methane monitors.

Electric equipment and wiring that extends to an underground area shall be inspected by a certified person at least once a week and more often if necessary to ensure safe operating conditions. Any hazardous condition found shall be corrected or the equipment or wiring shall be removed from service. Such surface inspection is also required for any trailing cable or circuit breaker used in conjunction with such equipment and wiring.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-85; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.288; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-936. Highwall inspections.

A. A mine foreman shall inspect the face of each highwall for a distance of 25 feet in both directions from an auger or highwall miner operation (i) before any such operation begins and at least once during each coal producing shift and (ii) frequently during any period of heavy rainfall or intermittent freezing and thawing.

B. Hazardous conditions shall be corrected and loose material removed from above the mining area before any work is begun.

C. Records shall be kept of the inspection and examination performed pursuant to subsection A. Such records shall be maintained for at least one year.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.289; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-937. Penetration of underground mines; testing.

A. A qualified person shall test for the presence of methane and for a deficiency of oxygen, using an approved device, at the entrance to an auger hole or at a highwall miner entry when either such entry point penetrates a worked-out area of an underground mine.

B. If one percent or more of methane is detected or 19.5 percent or less of oxygen is found to exist, no further work shall be performed until the atmosphere has been made safe.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.290; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-938. Safety precautions.

A. No person shall enter an auger hole or highwall miner entry without prior approval from the Chief.

B. Every auger hole or highwall miner entry shall be blocked with highwall spoil or other suitable material before it is abandoned.

C. Every auger or highwall mining machine that is exposed to any highwall or explosion hazard shall be provided with worker protection from falling material and a mine explosion.

D. At least one person shall be assigned to observe the highwall for possible movement while ground personnel are working in a high-risk area in close proximity to the highwall.

E. All persons shall stay clear of any moving auger or highwall miner train, and no person shall pass over or under a moving train unless adequate crossing facilities are provided.

F. The ground control plan shall specify any spacing of holes, web design, and use of alignment control devices.

G. The ground control plan shall include other administrative, engineering, and source controls that are to be provided for safe operations.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.291; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 13. Proximity of Mining to Gas or Oil Wells or Vertical Ventilation Holes.

§ 45.2-939. Surface coal mining; distance from wells; requirements.

A. Any mine operator who plans to remove coal or extend any workings in any mine to a distance of less than 500 feet from any gas or oil well that is already drilled or is in the process of being drilled shall file with the Chief a notice that such mining is taking place or will take place, together with copies of parts of the maps and plans required under § 45.2-542 that show the mine workings and projected mine workings beneath the tract in question and within 500 feet of the well. Such mine operator shall simultaneously mail copies of such notice, maps, and plans by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the well operator and the Gas and Oil Inspector appointed pursuant to the provisions of § 45.2-1604. The mine operator shall certify in each notice that he has complied with the provisions of this subsection.

B. Subsequent to the filing of the notice required by subsection A, the mine operator may proceed with surface coal mining operations in accordance with the maps and plans. However, without the prior approval of the Chief, such mine operator shall not remove any coal or extend any workings in any mine to a distance of less than 200 feet from any gas or oil well that is already drilled or is in the process of being drilled.

C. The Chief shall adopt regulations that prescribe the procedure to be followed by a mine operator in petitioning the Chief for approval to conduct surface coal mining operations to a distance of less than 200 feet from a well. A petition may include a request to mine through a plugged well or a plugged vertical ventilation hole. Such petition may also include a request to mine through a well or a vertical ventilation hole and to lower the head of such well or vertical ventilation hole. Each mine operator who files a petition to remove coal or extend any workings to a distance of less than 200 feet from any gas or oil well shall mail copies of the petition, maps, and plans by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the well operator and the Gas and Oil Inspector no later than the day of filing. The well operator and the Gas and Oil Inspector shall have standing to object to any petition filed under this section. Such objection shall be filed within 10 days following the date such petition is filed.

1990, c. 92, § 45.1-92.1; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.292; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.