Code of Virginia

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

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.