Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 8. Requirements Applicable to Underground Coal Mines; Electricity, Safety, Etc
9/25/2021

Part B. Underground Coal Mines..

Chapter 7. Requirements Applicable to Underground Coal Mines; Mine Construction.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 45.2-700. (Effective October 1, 2021) Scope of chapter.

The provisions of this chapter and Chapter 8 (§ 45.2-800 et seq.) shall apply to the operation of any underground coal mine in the Commonwealth and shall supplement the provisions of Chapter 5 (§ 45.2-500 et seq.).

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.105; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-701. (Effective October 1, 2021) Regulations governing conditions and practices at underground coal mines.

A. The Chief may, after consultation with the Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board, created by Article 9 (§ 45.2-576 et seq.) of Chapter 5, and in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act, adopt regulations necessary to ensure safe and healthy working conditions in underground coal mines in the Commonwealth. Such regulations governing underground coal mines shall relate to:

1. The maintenance, operation, storage, and transportation of any mechanical or electrical equipment, device, or machinery used for any purpose in the underground mining of coal;

2. Safety and health standards for the protection of the life, health, and property of, and the prevention of injuries to, any person involved in or likely to be affected by any underground coal mining operation. Such standards shall include the control of dust concentration levels; the use of respiratory equipment and ventilating systems; the development and maintenance of roof control systems; the handling of combustible materials and rock dusting; the installation, maintenance, and use of electrical devices, equipment, cables, and wires; fire protection, including equipment, emergency evacuation plans, emergency shelters, and communication facilities; the use and storage of explosives; and the establishment and maintenance of barriers in underground coal mines around gas and oil wells. The Chief may adopt regulations setting forth specific occupations and conditions under which a miner is prohibited from working alone underground; and

3. The storage or disposal of any matter or materials (i) extracted or disturbed as the result of an underground coal mining operation or (ii) used in the mining operation or for the refinement or preparation of the materials extracted from the coal mining operation, so that such matter or material does not threaten the health or safety of the miners or the general public.

B. The Chief shall not adopt any regulation establishing any requirement for the operation of, or conditions at, an underground coal mine that is inconsistent with requirements 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, § 45.1-161.106; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-702. (Effective October 1, 2021) Standards for regulations.

In adopting regulations pursuant to § 45.2-701, the Chief shall consider:

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

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

3. The federal mine safety law;

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 as are necessary for the protection of the safety and health of miners and other persons or property likely to be endangered by underground 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, § 45.1-161.107; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 2. Additional Duties of Certified Persons and Other Miners.

§ 45.2-703. (Effective October 1, 2021) Duties of mine foreman.

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

B. The mine foreman shall see that every miner employed to work in such mine, before beginning work therein, is aware of all hazardous conditions incident to his work in such mine. Any imminent danger that cannot be removed within a reasonable time shall be reported to the Chief by the quickest available means.

Code 1950, §§ 45-35, 45-40; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-17; 1978, c. 729; 1993, c. 170; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.249; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2015, cc. 103, 397; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-704. (Effective October 1, 2021) Employment and duties of top persons; plan for excavation of shaft or slope.

A. During the construction or modification of any shaft or slope mine, the person engaged in the actual construction or modification of such mine shall employ one or more top persons certified pursuant to § 45.2-534. It is the duty of such top person to examine for proper and safe practices and materials used during the construction or modification of a shaft or slope mine. Such duties shall at all times be performed in the immediate vicinity of the shaft or slope under construction.

B. Prior to commencing the excavation of any shaft or slope, the operator shall submit to the Department a copy of the plan that includes the following: (i) the name and location of the mine and shaft or slope; (ii) a description of the work and methods to be used in the construction of the shaft or slope; (iii) a description of the methods to be used to ensure wall and roof stability; (iv) a description of the system of ventilation to be used, including procedures for evacuation of the shaft or slope if a fan stoppage occurs; (v) details of hoisting equipment to be used; and (vi) such other information as the Chief requires. The excavation of such shaft or slope shall not begin until the plan is approved by the Chief.

1980, c. 442, § 45.1-20.1; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.250; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-705. (Effective October 1, 2021) Employment of inexperienced underground miners.

A. An inexperienced underground miner shall be required to work with an experienced underground miner for a total of at least six months following the start of underground employment. However, an experienced surface miner shall only be required to work with an experienced underground miner for a total of at least 60 days following the start of underground employment.

B. No inexperienced underground miner shall be assigned, allowed, or required to perform work alone in any area where there is a potential danger to his safety unless he can communicate with others or be heard or seen.

Code 1950, §§ 45-35, 45-40; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-17; 1978, c. 729; 1993, c. 170; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.251; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-706. (Effective October 1, 2021) Employment of authorized persons.

No miner shall be placed in charge of a cutting, loading, drilling, continuous miner, or timbering machine in any mine if such miner is not an authorized person capable of determining the safety of the roof and ribs of a working place. Such miner shall also be capable of detecting the presence of explosive gas and shall undergo examination by a mine inspector or other instructor certified by the Board of Coal Mining Examiners and authorized by the Chief to determine the miner's fitness to detect explosive gas before being permitted to have charge of a machine in such mine.

Code 1950, §§ 45-7, 45-12, 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, § 45.1-21; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 222, 489; 1982, c. 255; 1984, cc. 178, 590; 1988, c. 577; 1993, cc. 171, 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.252; 2012, cc. 109, 241; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 3. Proximity of Mining to Gas or Oil Wells or Abandoned Areas.

§ 45.2-707. (Effective October 1, 2021) Mining in proximity to gas or oil wells.

A. Except as provided in subsection D, an operator who plans to remove coal, drive any passage or entry, or extend any workings in any mine within 500 feet of any gas or oil well already drilled into the projected mine workings or in the process of being drilled into the projected mine workings shall file with the Chief a notice that such mining is taking place or will take place. The notice shall include a copy of parts of the maps and plans required under § 45.2-542 that show the mine workings or projected mine workings that are within 500 feet of the well. The 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 § 45.2-1604. Each notice shall contain a certification made by the operator that he has complied with the provisions of this subsection.

B. Subsequent to the filing of the notice required by subsection A, the operator may proceed with mining operations in accordance with the maps and plans; however, without the prior approval of the Chief, he shall not remove any coal, drive any entry, or extend any workings in any mine within 200 feet of any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled into the projected mine workings.

C. The Chief shall adopt regulations that prescribe the procedure to be followed by mine operators in petitioning the Chief for approval to conduct such activities within 200 feet of a gas or oil well or a vertical ventilation hole drilled or in the process of being drilled into the projected mine workings. Each operator who files such a petition 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 Gas and Oil Inspector and the operator of the gas or oil well or vertical ventilation hole 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.

D. Procedures for safely mining in proximity to or through a coalbed methane well or a vertical ventilation hole developed for methane drainage in a mine shall be addressed in the bleeder system plan for that mine required by § 45.2-837.

1990, c. 92, § 45.1-92.1; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.121; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-708. (Effective October 1, 2021) Mining in proximity to an abandoned area.

A. The mine foreman shall ensure that boreholes are drilled in each advancing working place that is (i) within 50 feet of an abandoned area in the mine as shown by a survey made and certified by a registered engineer or surveyor, (ii) within 200 feet of an abandoned area in the mine that has not been certified as surveyed, or (iii) within 200 feet of any mine workings of an adjacent mine located in the same coal bed unless the adjacent area of the mine has been pre-shift examined pursuant to § 45.2-826. Each borehole shall be at least 20 feet in depth, shall always be maintained not less than 10 feet in advance of the face, and shall be not more than eight feet from an adjacent borehole unless approved by the Chief. One borehole shall also be drilled for each cut on any side of the active workings that is being driven toward and in proximity to an abandoned mine or part of a mine that might contain explosive or hazardous gas or that is filled with water.

B. Sufficient holes shall be drilled through to accurately determine whether hazardous quantities of methane, carbon dioxide, or other gases or water are present in an abandoned area. Materials shall be available to plug such holes to prevent an inundation of hazardous quantities of gases or water if detected.

C. Mining shall not advance into any abandoned area penetrated by a borehole drilled in accordance with subsection A until a plan has been submitted and approved by the Chief. The plan shall include at a minimum (i) procedures for testing the atmosphere at the back of any borehole drilled into the abandoned area; (ii) the method of ventilation, the ventilation controls, and the air quantities and velocities in the affected working section and working place; (iii) procedures for penetrating an abandoned area when hazardous quantities of methane, carbon dioxide, or other hazardous gases cannot be removed; (iv) dewatering procedures to be used if a penetrated area contains hazardous water accumulation; and (v) procedures and precautions to be followed during a penetration operation. A copy of the plan shall be made available near the site of the penetration operation and the operator shall review the plan with all miners involved in the operation. Failure to comply with the approved plan shall constitute a violation of this section.

D. Any operator, agent of such operator, mine foreman, or miner engaged in drilling or mining into an inaccessible abandoned area shall have upon his person a self-contained self-rescuer.

E. Whenever a mine or section of a mine advances under any body of water that is sufficiently large or in close proximity as to constitute a hazard to miners, the operator shall submit to the Chief a plan meeting the requirements of 30 C.F.R. § 75.1716. The operator shall obtain approval from the Chief for the submitted plan prior to advancing the mine or any section of the mine under the body of water.

F. Prior to penetrating any portion of an active mine with a borehole, ventilation hole, or other hole drilled from the surface or from an overlying or underlying mine, or prior to drilling into any portion of the same active mine, the operator shall submit a plan to the Chief addressing (i) the purpose of the hole, (ii) information about any abandoned mine that the hole might penetrate, (iii) procedures for withdrawing or limiting the number of miners from the mine or affected area during penetration, (iv) casing details and procedures for preventing water inflow and air transfer from the hole into the active mine, (v) procedures for grouting or sealing the hole when it is no longer used, and (vi) such other information as the Chief may require. The drilling of such hole shall not begin until the plan is approved by the Chief.

G. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a gas well, coalbed methane well, or vertical ventilation hole.

Code 1950, § 45-38; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-93; 1979, c. 56; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.122; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 4. Roof, Face, and Rib Control.

§ 45.2-709. (Effective October 1, 2021) Roof, face, and ribs to be secure.

A. All underground active workings and travel ways shall be secured and controlled to protect miners from a fall of roof, face, or ribs. Loose roof and any loose or overhanging ribs or face shall be taken down or supported.

B. The mining method that the mine operator follows shall not expose any miner to a hazardous condition caused by the excessive width of a room or entry, a faulty pillar-recovery method, or any other hazardous mining method or working condition.

Code 1950, §§ 45-68.1 to 45-68.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-40, 45.1-41; 1975, c. 520; 1978, cc. 118, 729; 1980, c. 338; 1982, c. 234; 1984, c. 590; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.108; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-710. (Effective October 1, 2021) Roof control plans.

A. Each underground coal mine shall have a roof control plan approved by the Chief. Each plan shall include (i) a minimum standard for adequately controlling the roof, face, and ribs; (ii) a description of mining methods used; (iii) a listing and specification of roof and rib support materials; (iv) instruction for the installation of temporary and permanent roof supports; (v) a description of any pillar recovery methods; (vi) applicable drawings that demonstrate the width of each opening, each roof support installation sequence, and each pillar recovery sequence; and (vii) any additional requirements deemed necessary by the Chief. The initial submission of any roof control plan shall include maps of mine projections, overlying and underlying mine workings, coal contours, and surface contours. If changes are to be made in the mining system that necessitate any change in the roof control plan, the plan shall be revised and approved by the Chief prior to implementing the new mining system.

B. The Chief shall, where he deems necessary, prescribe adequate minimum standards for systematic support of mine roof, suitable to the roof conditions and mining system of each mine. Such standards shall be incorporated into an approved roof control plan for the mine.

C. Failure to comply with the approved roof control plan for the mine shall constitute a violation of this section.

D. The approved roof control plan shall be posted conspicuously at the mine and a copy shall be available at each working section of the mine.

E. The minimum standards and plan shall provide for temporary support at all active workings, without regard to natural condition.

F. If the minimum standards do not afford adequate protection, such additional supports shall be installed as necessary. Such additional supports shall be described in the plan.

G. This section shall not apply to any roof control system installed prior to January 27, 1988, so long as the support system continues to effectively control the roof, face, and ribs.

Code 1950, § 45-68.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-40; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 729; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.109; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-711. (Effective October 1, 2021) Instruction of miners.

The operator or his agent shall instruct all miners in the removal and installation of temporary and permanent roof supports as may be required by the roof control plan.

Code 1950, § 45-68.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-40; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 729; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.109; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-712. (Effective October 1, 2021) Copies of plan.

The operator or his agent shall, upon request, furnish a copy of the roof control plan to any miner engaged in removing or installing a temporary or permanent roof support.

Code 1950, § 45-68.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-40; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 729; 1984, c. 590; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.111; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-713. (Effective October 1, 2021) Automated temporary roof support systems.

The Chief shall adopt regulations requiring automated temporary roof support systems for the installation of roof bolts.

Code 1950, §§ 45-68.1, 45-68.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-41; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 118; 1980, c. 338; 1982, c. 234; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.114; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-714. (Effective October 1, 2021) Supplies of materials for supports.

A. The operator or his agent shall provide at or near each working place an ample supply of suitable materials of proper size with which to secure the roof, face, and ribs of such working place in a safe manner. Suitable supply materials shall be provided for variations in seam height. If the operator or his agent fails to provide such suitable materials, the mine foreman shall cause all miners to withdraw from the mine, or the portion thereof affected, until such materials or supplies are received.

B. Safety posts, jacks, or temporary crossbars shall be set close to the face before other operations are begun and as needed thereafter if any miner goes inby the last permanent roof support.

C. Unless an automated temporary roof support system is used, safety posts or jacks shall be used to protect miners during removal of roof material, installation of crossbars, drilling of roof bolt holes, installation of roof bolts, or performance of any other work that would reasonably require roof support to protect the miners involved.

D. The operator or his agent shall make immediately available for emergency use at each mine site at least two lifting devices with a combined total of at least 80 tons lifting capacity. Each individual lifting device shall have 20 tons or greater lifting capacity.

Code 1950, §§ 45-68.1, 45-68.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-41; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 118; 1980, c. 338; 1982, c. 234; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.115; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-715. (Effective October 1, 2021) Examination and testing of roof, face, and ribs.

A. The operator or his agent shall instruct every miner on how to visually examine and conduct sound and vibration testing of roof, face, and ribs.

B. Any miner exposed to danger from a fall of roof, face, or ribs shall visually examine and, if conditions permit, test the roof, face, and ribs by sounding the roof before starting work or before starting a machine and as needed thereafter to ensure safety. If hazardous conditions are found, the miner discovering such conditions shall either (i) correct the conditions immediately by taking down the loose material, installing proper timbering, or installing proper roof support before work is continued or any other work is done or (ii) cause all miners to vacate the place.

C. At least once each shift, or more often if necessary, the mine foreman or other certified person shall examine and test the roof, face, and ribs of each active working section where coal is being produced while one or more miners are working in such section. Any place in which a hazardous condition is found by the mine foreman shall be made safe in his presence or under his direction or all miners shall be withdrawn from such place. Such hazardous condition and corrective actions taken shall be recorded in the on-shift record book at the mine.

Code 1950, §§ 45-61, 45-68.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-42; 1976, c. 598; 1978, c. 118; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.116; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-716. (Effective October 1, 2021) Mapping of roof falls.

Any unplanned roof fall that is required to be reported in accordance with § 45.2-556 shall be marked on a map maintained at the mine to indicate the specific location of the fall.

Code 1950, §§ 45-61, 45-68.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-42; 1976, c. 598; 1978, c. 118; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.117; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-717. (Effective October 1, 2021) Unsafe conditions.

A. No person shall work or travel under unsupported roof except to install temporary supports in accordance with the approved roof control plan. Any area inby the breaker line where second mining has been or is being conducted shall be considered unsupported.

B. If roof, face, or rib conditions are found to be unsafe, no person shall start any other work in the area where such conditions exist until the conditions have been corrected by taking down loose material or securely supporting the roof, face, or ribs pursuant to subsection B of § 45.2-715.

C. A bar of proper length shall be used to pull down any loose material discovered.

Code 1950, §§ 45-61, 45-68.1, 45-68.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-41, 45.1-42; 1975, c. 520; 1976, c. 598; 1978, c. 118; 1980, c. 338; 1982, c. 234; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.118; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-718. (Effective October 1, 2021) Removal of supports.

A. No person shall deliberately remove any support in an active area unless equivalent protection is provided.

B. Any person who accidentally knocks out or dislodges a support shall promptly replace the support.

Code 1950, §§ 45-68.1, 45-68.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-41; 1975, c. 520; 1978, c. 118; 1980, c. 338; 1982, c. 234; 1988, c. 577; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.119; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 5. Explosives and Blasting.

§ 45.2-719. (Effective October 1, 2021) 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 that are 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 the other provisions of subsection B regarding the storage of explosives.

D. Explosives weighing a total of no more than 150 pounds, or detonators numbering 5,000 or fewer, shall be stored (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 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 vapor-proof and installed and wired so as to minimize any 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, § 45.1-161.126; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-720. (Effective October 1, 2021) Underground transportation of explosives and detonators.

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

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

1. The body and cover of each such car and each such container shall be constructed or lined with nonconductive material;

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

3. No explosives, detonators, or other blasting devices shall be transported on the same trip with any miner;

4. If explosives or detonators are transported in a special explosives car or a container in a car, they shall be hauled in a trip specifically for this purpose and not connected to any other trip; however, this provision shall not prohibit the use of such additional cars as needed to lower a rope trip or to haul supplies, including timbers. No materials so transported shall 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. No explosives or detonators shall be hauled into or out of a mine within five minutes preceding or following a mantrip or any other trip. If traveling against the air current, the mantrip shall precede the explosives trip; if traveling with the air current, the mantrip shall follow the explosives trip.

C. In a low coal seam where it is impractical to comply with the provisions of 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 under the following conditions only:

1. Each shall be transported in the original and unopened case, in a special closed case constructed of nonconductive material, or in a suitable individual container;

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

3. Suitable loading and unloading stations with stop controls shall be provided; and

4. An authorized person shall supervise the loading and unloading of explosives or detonators.

E. No explosives or detonators shall be transported on a flight or shaking conveyor, scraper, mechanical loading machine, locomotive, cutting machine, or drill truck or on any self-propelled mobile equipment; however, this provision shall not prohibit the transportation of explosives or detonators in special closed containers in a shuttle car or in equipment designed specifically to transport such explosives or detonators.

Code 1950, § 45-53.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-46; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.127; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-721. (Effective October 1, 2021) Underground storage of explosives and detonators.

A. If a supply of explosives or detonators for use in one or more sections is stored underground, it shall be kept in a section box or magazine of substantial construction with no metal exposed on the inside. Such box or magazine shall be located at least 25 feet from any roadway or power wire and in a reasonably dry, well rock-dusted location protected from falls of roof. In a pitching bed, where it is not possible to comply with such location requirement, such box shall be placed in a niche cut into the solid coal or rock.

B. If explosives and detonators are both stored in the section, they shall be kept in separate boxes or magazines not less than 12 feet apart if feasible; if kept in the same box or magazine, they shall be separated by a substantially fastened hardwood partition at least four inches thick or the equivalent. Not more than a 48-hour supply of explosives or detonators shall be stored underground in such box or magazine.

C. If explosives and detonators are kept near the face for the use of miners, they shall be kept in separate individual closed containers, in niches in the ribs, not less than 12 feet apart, and at least 50 feet from the working place and out of the line of blast. Each such container 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 places not less than 15 feet from any pipe, rail, conveyor, haulage road, or power line, not less than 12 feet apart, and at least 50 feet from the working face and out of the line of blast.

D. Explosives and detonators shall be kept in their containers pursuant to subsection C until immediately before use at a working face.

Code 1950, § 45-53.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-47; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.128; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-722. (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 subsection B of § 45.2-704.

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. Where the coal is cut, no borehole in coal shall be drilled beyond the limits of the cut or into the roof or floor;

4. Every borehole shall be cleaned and checked to ensure that it is placed properly and is of the correct depth in relation to the cut before being charged;

5. Every blasting charge in coal shall have a burden of at least 18 inches in every direction if the height of the coal permits;

6. Every borehole shall be stemmed with at least 24 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. An examination for gas shall be made immediately before firing each shot or group of shots and after blasting is completed;

8. No shot shall be fired in any place where a methane level of one percent or greater can be detected with a permissible methane detector as directed by the Chief;

9. Without approval, no charge of greater than one and one-half pounds shall be used unless (i) each borehole is 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) explosives permissible pursuant to this article are used. No charge exceeding three pounds shall be used; however, such 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. Any shot shall be fired by a certified underground shot firer;

12. No borehole shall be charged while any other work is being done at the face, and any shot 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 every electric detonator shall be kept shunted until ready to connect to the firing cable;

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

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

17. Every miner shall be removed to a distance of at least 100 feet from the working place and any immediately adjoining working place and shall be accounted for before any shot is fired;

18. No mixed types or brands of explosives shall be charged or fired in any borehole;

19. No adobe, mudcap, or other open, unconfined shot shall be fired in any mine except a type approved by MSHA and the Chief;

20. Any power wire or cable that could contact any blasting cable or leg wire shall be de-energized during charging and firing;

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

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

23. Before any miner returns to work and begins to load coal, slate, or refuse, such 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 is unlawful for an operator, his agent, or a mine foreman to cause or permit any solid shooting to be done without first obtaining a written permit from the Chief. It is unlawful for any miner to shoot coal from the solid without first obtaining permission to do so from the operator, his agent, or a 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, § 45.1-161.129; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-723. (Effective October 1, 2021) Blasting cables.

Each blasting cable shall be:

1. Well insulated and as long as necessary to allow the shot firer to move to a safe place around a corner;

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

3. Staggered as to length, or shall have its 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, § 45.1-161.130; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-724. (Effective October 1, 2021) Misfires.

A. Where a misfire occurs with an electric detonator, a waiting period of at least 15 minutes is required before any miner is 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 (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 working place 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 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, § 45.1-161.131; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-725. (Effective October 1, 2021) Explosives and blasting practices in shaft and slope operations.

A. Every blasting area in a shaft or slope operation 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, every miner shall be removed from the working place until the storm has passed.

1978, c. 729, § 45.1-53.1; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.132; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 6. Mine Openings and Escapeways.

§ 45.2-726. (Effective October 1, 2021) Mine openings.

A. Except as provided in § 45.2-728, there shall be at least two travel ways, entries, or openings to the surface from each section of a mine worked. Each longwall panel shall be developed with at least three entries; however, if new technology becomes available pursuant to which a two-entry system can 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 an intake airway.

E. Any surface structure where miners congregate or where the mine map or other official records are kept at the mine shall be offset at least 15 feet from the nearest side of any mine opening or otherwise located to be out of the zone of danger if an explosion occurs, 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, § 45.1-161.162; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-727. (Effective October 1, 2021) Separation of openings.

A. In a drift or slope mine, openings shall be separated by at least 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 a shaft mine, openings shall be separated by at least 200 feet of natural strata.

Code 1950, § 45-71; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-94; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.163; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-728. (Effective October 1, 2021) Number of miners in openings.

Until the two travel ways are made as required by § 45.2-726, no more than 20 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 a mine in which final pillar removal operations necessitate closing the second opening, no more than 20 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, § 45.1-161.164; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-729. (Effective October 1, 2021) Maintenance of mine openings.

Every mine opening that is used for entering and leaving the mine and every other required travel way 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, § 45.1-161.165; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-730. (Effective October 1, 2021) Signs, life lines, and equipment.

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

B. Continuous life lines shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the approved emergency response plan pursuant to subsection A of § 45.2-820.

C. Every escapeway shall be equipped with all necessary stairways, ladders, cleated walkways, or other equipment approved by the Chief. All equipment shall be installed in such a manner that a person using it in an emergency 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, § 45.1-161.166; 1996, c. 774; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-731. (Effective October 1, 2021) Examination of escapeways.

The mine foreman shall examine every escapeway for hazardous conditions at least weekly. The mine foreman shall mark his initials and the date at each place examined, and if a hazardous condition is found, it shall be reported promptly. A record of such 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, 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-732. (Effective October 1, 2021) Longwall escape routes and plan.

A. The operator of any mine that uses longwalls as a method of mining shall maintain an accessible travel route off the tailgate end of the longwall working face. The operator shall familiarize all miners working on the longwall section with the procedures to follow for escape from the section and, when the travel route is impassible, the operator shall inform such miners of such fact.

B. The operator shall develop a plan for use of longwalls if the travel route becomes impassable. The plan shall address (i) the notification to miners of the fact that the travel way is blocked and of the method and timetable for reestablishment of the travel way, (ii) the re-instruction of miners regarding escapeways and escape procedures in the event of an emergency, (iii) the re-instruction of miners on the availability and use of self-contained self-rescuers, (iv) the monitoring and evaluation of the air entering the longwall section, (v) the 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, § 45.1-161.168; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-733. (Effective October 1, 2021) Fire protection.

A. Every shaft, and every partition therein, shall be as nearly fireproof as is practicable.

B. Where there is danger of fire entering the mine, every opening shall have adequate protection against a surface fire or a hazardous volume 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, § 45.1-161.169; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-734. (Effective October 1, 2021) Unused openings.

Every unused or abandoned surface opening 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, § 45.1-161.170; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 7. Hoisting.

§ 45.2-735. (Effective October 1, 2021) Hoisting equipment.

A. Every hoist used for handling miners shall be equipped with overspeed, overwind, and automatic stop controls.

B. Every suspended work deck or platform shall (i) operate automatically, (ii) be equipped with guardrails capable of protecting miners and materials from accidental overturning, and (iii) be equipped with safety belts and such other protective devices as the Chief shall require by regulation.

C. Every platform or work deck that is used for transporting miners or materials shall be equipped with leveling indicators, and such conveyance shall be maintained and operated in a reasonably level position at all times.

D. Every shaft, slope, or surface incline hoist shall be equipped with brakes capable of stopping and holding the fully loaded unbalanced cage or trip at any point in the shaft or slope or on the surface incline.

E. An accurate and reliable indicator showing the position of the cage or trip shall be placed so as to be in clear view of the hoisting engineer, unless the position of the cage or trip is clearly visible at all times to the hoisting engineer or other person operating the equipment.

F. Any conveyance that is used to haul miners or materials within a shaft or slope shall be (i) designed to prevent materials from falling back into the shaft or slope and (ii) equipped with a retaining edge of at least six inches to prevent objects from falling into the shaft or slope.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-68, 45.1-69; 1972, c. 784; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-736. (Effective October 1, 2021) Hoisting ropes.

A. The hoisting rope on any cage or trip shall be adequate in size to handle the load. A rope that is used to hoist or lower coal and other materials shall have a factor of safety of at least five to one. A rope that is used to hoist or lower miners shall have a factor of safety of at least 10 to one.

B. Each hoisting rope shall have at least three full turns remaining on the drum when extended to its maximum working length. The rope shall make at least one full turn on the drum shaft, or around the spoke of the drum in the case of a free drum, and be fastened securely by means of clamps.

C. Each hoisting rope shall be fastened to its load by (i) a spelter-filled socket or (ii) a thimble and an adequate number of clamps that are properly spaced and installed.

D. Any cage, mancar, or trip used for hoisting or lowering miners with a single rope shall be provided with two bridle chains or wire ropes connected securely to the rope at least three feet above the socket or thimble and clamps and to the crosspiece of the cage or to the mancar or trip. Multiple hoisting ropes installed pursuant to subsection C may be used in lieu of two bridle chains.

E. If equipment or supplies are being hoisted or lowered in the slope, safety chains or wire ropes shall be provided and connected securely to the hoist rope. In addition, visible or audible warning devices shall be installed in the slope where they may be seen or heard by any miner approaching the slope track entry from any access.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-68, 45.1-89.1; 1972, c. 784; 1978, c. 729; 1983, c. 111; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.154; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-737. (Effective October 1, 2021) Hoisting cages.

A. Any cage used for hoisting miners shall be of substantial construction and have (i) adequate steel bonnets, with enclosed sides; (ii) gates, safety chains, or bars across the ends of the cage when miners are being hoisted or lowered; and (iii) sufficient handholds or chains for all miners on the cage to maintain their balance. A locking device to prevent tilting of the cage shall be used on all self-dumping cages when transporting miners.

B. The floor of each cage shall be constructed so that it is (i) adequate to carry the load and (ii) impossible for a miner's foot or body to enter any opening in the bottom of the cage.

C. Each cage used for hoisting miners shall be equipped with safety catches that act quickly and effectively in case of an emergency. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a capsule or bucket that is used for emergency escape or during shaft or slope sinking.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-69; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.155; 1997, c. 293; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-738. (Effective October 1, 2021) Shaft and slope conditions.

A. Every shaft shall be equipped with safety gates at the top and at each landing. Safety gates shall be kept closed except when the cage is being loaded or unloaded.

B. At the bottom of each hoisting shaft and at each intermediate landing, a runaround shall be provided for safe passage from one side of the shaft to the other. This passageway shall be at least five feet in height and three feet in width.

C. Ice shall not be permitted to accumulate excessively in any shaft where miners are hoisted or lowered.

D. Positive-acting stopblocks or derails shall be installed near the top and at intermediate landings of slopes and surface inclines and at the approaches to all shaft landings.

E. Positive-acting stopblocks or derails shall be installed on the haulage track in the slope near the top of the slope. The stopblocks or derails shall be in a position to hold or stop any load to be lowered into the mine, including heavy mining equipment, until such time as the equipment is to be lowered into the mine by the hoist.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-69, 45.1-89.1; 1978, c. 729; 1983, c. 111; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.156; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-739. (Effective October 1, 2021) Signaling; signal code.

A. Two independent means of signaling shall be provided between the top, bottom, and every intermediate landing of each shaft, slope, or surface incline and the hoisting station. At least one of these means of signaling shall be audible to the hoisting engineer or other person operating the equipment. Bell cords shall be installed in each shaft in such a manner as to prevent unnecessary movement of such cords within the shaft.

B. A uniform signal code approved by the Chief shall be in use at each mine and shall be kept at the cage station designated by the mine foreman.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-69; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.157; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-740. (Effective October 1, 2021) Inspections of hoisting equipment.

A. Before hoisting or lowering any miner in a shaft, the hoisting engineer shall operate an empty cage up and down each shaft for at least one round trip, both at the beginning of each shift and after the hoist has been idle for one hour or more.

B. Before hoisting or lowering any miner by slope or surface incline hoisting, the hoisting engineer shall operate an empty cage for at least one round trip, both at the beginning of each shift and after the hoist has been idle for one hour or more.

C. The hoisting engineer, at the time the inspections required by subsection A or B are performed, shall (i) inspect all cable or rope fastenings on every cage, bucket, or slope car; (ii) inspect hammer locks and pins, thimbles, and clamps; (iii) inspect safety chains on every cage, bucket, or slope car; (iv) inspect each braking system for malfunctions; (v) clean all excess oil and extraneous materials from the hoist housing construction; (vi) inspect the overwind, overtravel, and lilly switch or control from stopping at the collar and within 100 feet of the work deck; and (vii) check communications between the top house, work deck, and work deck tugger house.

D. The hoisting engineer shall inspect the hoisting rope on every cage or trip at the beginning of each shift.

E. A test of safety catches on every cage shall be made by an authorized person designated by the operator at least once each month. A written record shall be kept of such tests, and such record shall be available for inspection by interested persons.

F. An authorized person designated by the operator shall inspect daily the hoisting equipment, including the headgear, cages, ropes, connections, links and chains, shaft guides, shaft walls, and other facilities. Such person shall also inspect every bull wheel and lighting system on the head frame. Such person shall report immediately to the operator or his agent any defect found, and all such defects shall be corrected promptly. The person making such examination shall make a daily permanent record of such inspection, which shall be available for inspection by interested persons. If a hoist is used only during a weekly examination of an escapeway, then the inspection required by this subsection shall only be required to be completed weekly before the examination occurs.

G. Subsections A, B, C, and D shall not apply to automatically operated elevators.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-68, 45.1-69; 1972, c. 784; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.158; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-741. (Effective October 1, 2021) Hoisting engineers.

A. If miners are transported into or out of an underground area of a mine by a hoist or on a surface incline, a certified hoisting engineer shall be either on duty continuously or available within a reasonable time, as determined by the Chief, to provide immediate transportation while any person is underground.

B. When any miner is being hoisted or lowered in a shaft or on a slope or surface incline, the loading and unloading of any miner and the movement of the cage, car, or trip shall be under the direction of an authorized person.

C. Subsections A and B shall not apply to automatically operated elevators that can be safely operated by any miner; however, a person qualified as an automatic elevator operator shall be available at any such elevator within a reasonable time, as determined by the Chief.

D. An operator or agent of such operator of any mine worked by shaft, slope, or surface incline shall place a competent and sober hoisting engineer in charge of any engine or drum used for lowering or hoisting miners. No hoisting engineer in charge of such machinery shall allow any person, except a person who is designated for such purpose by the operator or his agent, to interfere with any part of the machinery. No person shall interfere with or intimidate a hoisting engineer or automatic elevator operator who is engaged in the discharge of his duties.

Code 1950, §§ 45-7, 45-12, 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, §§ 45.1-21, 45.1-68, 45.1-69; 1972, c. 784; 1976, c. 598; 1978, cc. 222, 489, 729; 1982, c. 255; 1984, cc. 178, 590; 1988, c. 577; 1993, cc. 171, 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.159; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-742. (Effective October 1, 2021) Operations of hoisting equipment.

A. The speed of the cage, car, or trip in a shaft or slope or on a surface incline shall not exceed 1,000 feet per minute when a miner is being hoisted or lowered.

B. When moving the platform or work deck, every miner traveling thereon shall have a safety belt secured.

C. No miner shall ride on a loaded cage.

D. The number of miners riding in any cage or car at one time shall not exceed the maximum prescribed by the manufacturer. The Chief may prescribe a lesser number when necessary to ensure the safety of miners being transported.

E. Any conveyance being lowered into a shaft in which a miner is working shall be stopped at least 20 feet above the area where such miner is working.

F. If any miner is working at the bottom of a shaft, there shall be an adjustable ladder or chain ladder attached to the work deck to provide an additional means of escape. Such ladder shall be at least 20 feet in length.

G. Every choker or sling used to transport materials within a shaft or slope shall meet specifications established by the American National Standards Institute.

Code 1950, § 45-68.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-68, 45.1-69; 1972, c. 784; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.160; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-743. (Effective October 1, 2021) Maintenance of hoisting equipment.

Every hoist, rope, cage, and other component of any piece of hoisting equipment shall be maintained in a safe operating condition, as directed by the Chief. A hoisting rope shall be replaced as soon as there is evidence of possible failure.

Code 1950, §§ 45-68.4, 45-69.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-68, 45.1-72; 1972, c. 784; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.161; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 8. Transportation.

§ 45.2-744. (Effective October 1, 2021) Haulage roads.

A. The roadbed, rails, joints, switches, frogs, and other elements of the track of each haulage road shall be constructed, installed, and maintained in a manner that ensures the safe operation of the haulage road. In determining its safety, consideration shall be given to the speed of equipment and the type of haulage operations conducted on the haulage road.

B. Haulage tracks shall be kept free of accumulations of coal spillage and debris, and water shall not be allowed to accumulate over the top of the rail.

C. Every off-track haulage equipment operator shall observe the haulage road for hazardous conditions during the course of travel and shall promptly correct or report to the mine foreman any hazardous condition observed.

D. Each off-track haulage road shall be maintained reasonably free of bottom irregularities, excess spillage, debris, wet or muddy conditions that make controlling off-track haulage equipment difficult, and any accumulation of water over such an area of the haulage road and in such a depth as to allow water to enter an electrical panel and create a potentially hazardous condition.

E. No uninsulated trolley lines shall be used or installed in any underground coal mine without approval of the Chief.

Code 1950, § 45-69.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-70; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.133; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-745. (Effective October 1, 2021) Track switches and rails.

A. Every track switch shall be provided with a properly installed throw and properly installed latches and bridle bars.

B. Every track switch, other than a switch in a room or entry development, shall be equipped with properly installed guardrails.

C. Every switch throw and stand shall be installed on the side of the track where clearance is provided.

D. Every rail shall be secured at all joints by plates or welds.

Code 1950, §§ 45-69.1, 45-69.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-70, 45.1-73; 1979, c. 315; 1983, c. 70; 1985, c. 302; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.134; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-746. (Effective October 1, 2021) Clearance on haulage roads.

A. Every track haulage road in an entry, room, or crosscut shall have a continuous clearance on one side of at least two feet from the farthest projection of moving traffic. The clearance shall be kept free of any obstruction to a height permitted by the height of the coal seam. When it is not possible to maintain such clearance, signs indicating close clearance shall be posted inby and outby the affected area.

B. Every track haulage road in an entry, room, or crosscut shall have a continuous clearance on the side opposite the clearance required by subsection A of at least six inches from the farthest projection of moving traffic. When it is not possible to maintain such clearance, signs indicating close clearance shall be posted inby and outby the affected area.

C. Each track haulage road where trolley lines are used shall have the clearance required by subsection A on the side of the track opposite the trolley lines. This requirement shall not apply if the trolley lines are at least 6.5 feet above the rail.

D. The clearance space on each track haulage road shall be kept free of loose rock, loose coal, loose supplies, and other loose materials. If the clearance space exceeds two feet, at least two feet of the clearance space shall be kept free of such materials.

E. Every parallel track shall be installed so as to provide a clearance of at least two feet between the outermost projections of passing traffic.

F. Ample clearance shall be provided (i) at each conveyor loading head, (ii) at each conveyor control panel, and (iii) along each conveyor line.

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

Code 1950, §§ 45-14.1, 45-69.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-71, 45.1-89; 1974, c. 323; 1978, c. 118; 1984, c. 590; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.135; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-747. (Effective October 1, 2021) Conveyor crossings.

Suitable facilities for crossing a conveyor belt shall be provided where it is necessary for miners to cross such conveyor belt regularly.

Code 1950, § 45-69.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-71; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.136; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-748. (Effective October 1, 2021) Shelter holes.

A. Every haulage road shall have shelter holes at intervals not to exceed the interval permitted by the roof control plan for crosscuts. Except at a point where more than six feet of side clearance, measured from the rail, is maintained, or at a room switch, a shelter hole shall be provided at each manually operated door and at each switch throw.

B. Except for shelter holes at an underground slope landing where miners pass and cars are handled, each shelter hole shall have (i) a depth of at least five feet; (ii) a width of at most four feet, unless a room neck or crosscut width exceeding four feet is used as a shelter hole; and (iii) a height of at least six feet or, if the height of the traveling space is less than six feet, a height equivalent to that of the traveling space.

C. Every shelter hole at an underground slope landing where miners pass and cars are handled shall be at least (i) 10 feet in depth, (ii) four feet in width, and (iii) six feet in height.

D. Every shelter hole shall be kept free of refuse, loose roof, and other obstructions.

Code 1950, § 45-69.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-71; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.137; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-749. (Effective October 1, 2021) Refuge from moving traffic.

Upon the approach of moving traffic, any miner not engaged in haulage operations shall take refuge in a shelter hole or other place of safety.

Code 1950, § 45-69.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-71; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.138; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-750. (Effective October 1, 2021) Inspection of underground equipment.

Once per week, or more often if necessary, the mine foreman or a certified person shall inspect electrical and diesel transportation equipment to ensure its safe operating condition. Such equipment located on the surface shall be inspected once per month, or more often if necessary. Such person shall correct any defect found during the inspection. A record of such examinations shall be maintained.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-85; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.139; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-751. (Effective October 1, 2021) Maintenance of equipment.

Every locomotive, mine car, shuttle car, supply car, conveyor, piece of self-propelled mobile equipment, and other piece of equipment shall be maintained in a safe operating condition.

Code 1950, § 45-69.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-72; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.140; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-752. (Effective October 1, 2021) Self-propelled equipment.

A. Every piece of self-propelled mobile transportation or haulage equipment for use underground shall be equipped with safe seating facilities for the person operating the equipment unless it is equipped for remote control operation. Where seating facilities are provided on a piece of self-propelled mobile equipment, the person operating such equipment shall be seated before the equipment is put into motion.

B. Every piece of track-mounted equipment shall be equipped with proper lifting devices for the rerailing of such equipment.

C. An audible warning device and headlights shall be provided on each locomotive, shuttle car, or other piece of self-propelled mobile transportation or haulage equipment.

D. A trip light capable of being seen for at least 300 feet underground shall be used on the rear of any trip that is pulled and on the front of any pushed trip or trip that is lowered on a slope; however, a trip light need not be used if a locomotive is used on each end of a trip.

E. Effective measures, including use of a trailing locomotive, slides, skids, or drags, shall be taken during track haulage to ensure that safe control is maintained when a grade creates a potential hazard.

F. Where block signals are used, procedures to safely control traffic movement within the system shall be established in writing and posted and reviewed with all miners.

Code 1950, §§ 45-69.1, 45-69.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-72, 45.1-73; 1979, c. 315; 1983, c. 70; 1985, c. 302; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.141; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-753. (Effective October 1, 2021) Pushing cars.

Pushing any car on a main haulage road is prohibited except (i) where it is necessary to push a car from a sidetrack that is located near the working section to the producing entry or room; (ii) where it is necessary to clear a switch or sidetrack; and (iii) on the approach to a cage, slope, or surface incline. However, where a rail transportation system is utilized and it becomes necessary to routinely push cars, the operator shall develop procedures for coordination and control of rail traffic, such as the provision of effective trip lights or other warning devices, and other safety precautions specific to the mine. Such procedures shall be subject to approval of the Chief.

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, § 45.1-161.142; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-754. (Effective October 1, 2021) Transportation of material.

A. Any equipment, material, or supplies being transported shall be loaded in a manner that protects the operator and other personnel from sliding equipment, material, or supplies.

B. Any equipment, material, or supplies that are not necessary for the operation of a piece of self-propelled mobile equipment shall not be transported on such equipment, except for when the mobile equipment is designed to carry such materials or supplies and no hazard is created. Only small hand tools and materials or supplies that do not create hazards may be transported in the same compartment of a mantrip where any miner is seated.

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, § 45.1-161.143; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-755. (Effective October 1, 2021) Securing cars.

A. A standing car on any track, unless it is held effectively by brakes, shall be properly blocked to prevent movement.

B. Positive-acting stopblocks or derails shall be used when necessary to protect miners from the hazard of runaway rail equipment. Derails shall be located where a grade at the entrance or any other location in the mine creates a potential collision hazard.

C. Safety chains, steel ropes, or other effective devices capable of holding the load shall be used to prevent a runaway mantrip or other supply car.

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, § 45.1-161.144; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-756. (Effective October 1, 2021) Riding on cars.

A. No person other than the motorman and the trip rider shall ride on a locomotive unless authorized by the mine foreman.

B. No person shall ride on a loaded car or between cars of any trip.

C. No person shall get on or off a moving locomotive or a car that is being moved by a locomotive.

D. No person shall be allowed to ride on top of a piece of self-propelled mobile equipment.

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, § 45.1-161.145; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-757. (Effective October 1, 2021) Back-poling.

Back-poling shall be prohibited except (i) at a place where the trolley pole cannot be reversed or (ii) when going up an extremely steep grade. In such circumstances, back-poling shall occur only at very slow speed.

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, § 45.1-161.146; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-758. (Effective October 1, 2021) Operation of equipment.

A. Every operator of self-propelled mobile haulage equipment shall face in the direction of travel except when the equipment is being loaded and is under the boom of the loading equipment.

B. Every track haulage car that requires coupling and uncoupling shall be equipped with automatic couplers or devices designed to allow coupling and uncoupling without exposing miners between such equipment. Specialty cars designed with safe clearance when connecting to other cars are excluded from the provisions of this subsection.

C. Every person operating self-propelled haulage equipment shall sound a warning before starting such equipment and on approaching any curve, sidetrack, door, curtain, manway crossing, or other place where a miner is or is likely to be.

D. All rail equipment shall be operated at speeds that are safe for the condition of any rail installation, grade, or clearance encountered. When rail equipment is being operated at a normal safe speed, a distance of 300 feet shall be maintained from the rear of other rail equipment in operation, except for a trailing locomotive that is an integral part of the trip.

E. All persons shall stand in the clear during any switching operation.

F. No two pieces of self-propelled mobile mining equipment traveling in opposite directions inside a coal mine shall be allowed to pass each other while both are in motion on the same haulage road unless a distance of at least two feet is maintained between the vehicles.

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, § 45.1-161.147; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-759. (Effective October 1, 2021) Dispatchers.

Where a dispatcher is employed to control trips at a mine, traffic under his jurisdiction shall be moved only at his direction. The dispatcher shall be stationed on the surface at the mine.

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, § 45.1-161.148; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-760. (Effective October 1, 2021) Availability of mantrips.

The operator or his agent shall maintain a mantrip or other equipment suitable for providing reasonable access within a reasonable time to any area of the mine where miners are working and where transportation is ordinarily provided. The suitability of the equipment and the reasonableness of the time required to reach such an area of the mine shall be determined by the Chief.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.149; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-761. (Effective October 1, 2021) Mantrips.

A. Each mantrip that is operated by means of a locomotive shall be pulled and operated at a safe speed that is consistent with the condition of the road and the type of equipment used and shall be so controlled that it can be stopped within the limits of the operator's visibility.

B. Each mantrip shall be under the charge of an authorized person and operated independently of any loaded trip.

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

D. No person shall ride under a trolley wire other than in a suitably covered mantrip. A covered mantrip shall not be required under trolley wires that are guarded or positioned in accordance with subsection F of § 45.2-808.

E. Other than small hand tools carried on the person, no supplies, tools, or materials shall be transported in the same car or cage with miners on any mantrip, except in a special compartment in the car designed for such purpose.

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

Code 1950, § 45-69.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-74; 1985, c. 296; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.150; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-762. (Effective October 1, 2021) Mantrip loading and unloading areas.

A. Any area used regularly for loading or unloading mantrips shall be kept clear and free of obstructions and have ample clearance for moving equipment. Each miner shall remain in such area until the mantrip is ready to load.

B. Trolley and power wires shall be guarded effectively at any area where persons regularly load or unload from mantrips or cages and where there is a possibility that a person could come into contact with energized electric wiring while boarding or disembarking the mantrip or cage.

Code 1950, § 45-69.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-74; 1985, c. 296; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.151; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-763. (Effective October 1, 2021) Transporting miners by conveyor belt.

A. If a conveyor belt is used for transporting miners, such belt shall be free of loose materials and shall maintain a minimum clearance of at least 18 inches between the belt and the overhead roof or crossbars, projecting equipment, cap pieces, overhead cables, wiring, and other objects. Each conveyor belt that is used for transporting miners shall be equipped with emergency stop cords for its entire length.

B. The conveyor belt speed while miners are being transported shall not exceed (i) 250 feet per minute if the overhead clearance maintained pursuant to subsection A is more than 18 inches but less than 24 inches and (ii) 300 feet per minute if the overhead clearance is 24 inches or more. Such conveyor belt shall be stopped while miners are boarding or disembarking.

C. The space between miners riding on a conveyor belt line shall be at least five feet.

D. Adequate clearance and proper illumination shall be provided where miners board or disembark a conveyor belt.

Code 1950, § 45-69.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-74; 1985, c. 296; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.152; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 9. Surface Areas.

§ 45.2-764. (Effective October 1, 2021) Housekeeping; noxious fumes.

A. Good housekeeping shall be practiced in and around every building, shaft, slope, yard, or other area of a mine. Such practice includes cleanliness, orderly storage of materials, and the removal of possible sources of injury, such as stumbling hazards, protruding nails, broken glass, and possible falling and rolling materials.

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

C. Every surface mine structure, enclosure, or other facility shall be maintained in good repair.

Code 1950, §§ 45-85.5, 45-85.8; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-34, 45.1-37; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.236; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-765. (Effective October 1, 2021) Lighting.

A. Lights shall be provided as needed in or on a surface mine structure, enclosure, or other facility.

B. Each road, path, or walk outside of a structure, enclosure, or other facility shall be kept free from obstructions and shall be well-illuminated if it is used at night.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-38; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.237; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-766. (Effective October 1, 2021) Flammable or combustible materials.

A. Oil, grease, and any similar flammable or combustible material shall be kept in a closed container, separate from other materials, so as to prevent any fire hazard to nearby buildings or mines. If oil, grease, or any similar flammable material is stored in a building, the building or room in which it is stored shall be of fireproof construction and well-ventilated.

B. Any oily rag, oily waste, or wastepaper shall be kept in a closed metal container until removed for disposal.

C. The area within 100 feet of each mine opening shall be kept free of flammable or combustible material; however, this provision shall not apply to the temporary storage of not more than a one-day's supply of such material.

D. Every oxygen or acetylene bottle shall be (i) secured when not in use and (ii) stored with its cap in place in a rack constructed and designated for the storage of such bottles. Smoking shall be prohibited in any place where such materials are stored. Signs indicating that smoking is prohibited in the area shall be posted.

Code 1950, § 45-85.9; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-39; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.238; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-767. (Effective October 1, 2021) Hazardous crane operations.

A crane operator shall at all times during any hazardous crane operation maintain visual or auditory communication with all persons involved in such crane operation.

Code 1950, § 45-85.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-36; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.239; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-768. (Effective October 1, 2021) Controlling dust at the surface.

A. In each surface structure, enclosure, or facility at any excessively dusty mine, every electric motor, switch, lighting fixture, and control shall be protected by dust-tight construction.

B. Each surface structure and piece of equipment shall be kept free of coal dust accumulations.

C. If mining operations raise 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.

Code 1950, §§ 45-77, 45-85.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-34, 45.1-67; 1978, cc. 120, 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.240; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-769. (Effective October 1, 2021) Scaffolding and overhead protection.

Proper scaffolding or proper overhead protection shall be provided (i) where repairs are being made to a facility or (ii) where equipment or material is being used or transported overhead.

Code 1950, § 45-85.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-34; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.241; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-770. (Effective October 1, 2021) Welding and cutting.

No welding or cutting with arc or flame shall be done in an excessively dusty atmosphere or dusty location. Firefighting apparatus shall be readily available when such welding or cutting is performed.

Code 1950, § 45-85.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-34; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.242; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-771. (Effective October 1, 2021) Fire prevention and fire control.

The provisions of Article 5 (§ 45.2-912 et seq.) of Chapter 9 shall apply with respect to any requirement for firefighting equipment, duties in the event of a fire, or fire precautions at any surface area of an underground coal mine.

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, § 45.1-161.243; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-772. (Effective October 1, 2021) Surface equipment.

The provisions of Article 6 (§ 45.2-915 et seq.) of Chapter 9 shall apply with respect to equipment at any surface area of an underground coal mine.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.244; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-773. (Effective October 1, 2021) Travel ways and loading and haulage areas.

The provisions of Article 7 (§ 45.2-922 et seq.) of Chapter 9 shall apply with respect to any travel way, loading area, or haulage area at the surface of an underground coal mine.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.245; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-774. (Effective October 1, 2021) Electricity.

The provisions of Article 9 (§ 45.2-926 et seq.) of Chapter 9 shall apply with respect to any power line, circuit, transformer, or other electrical equipment at any surface area of an underground coal mine.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.246; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-775. (Effective October 1, 2021) Surface blasting.

The provisions of Article 10 (§ 45.2-931 et seq.) of Chapter 9 shall apply with respect to explosives or blasting at any surface area of an underground coal mine.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.247; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-776. (Effective October 1, 2021) Ground control.

The provisions of Article 11 (§ 45.2-934) of Chapter 9 shall apply with respect to any pit, highwall, wall, bank, or bench associated with any coal mining activity conducted at any surface area of an underground coal mine.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.248; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Chapter 8. Requirements Applicable to Underground Coal Mines; Electricity, Safety, Etc.

Article 1. Mechanical Equipment.

§ 45.2-800. (Effective October 1, 2021) Face and other equipment.

A. The cutter chains of any mining machine shall be locked securely by mechanical means or an electrical interlock while such machine is parked or being trammed.

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

C. Each electric drill or other electrically operated rotating tool intended to be held in the hand shall have the electric switch constructed so as to break the circuit when the hand releases the switch or shall be equipped with a properly adjusted friction or safety clutch.

D. While equipment is in operation or is being trammed, no miner shall position himself or be placed in a pinch point between such equipment and the face or any rib of the mine or another piece of equipment in the mine.

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

Code 1950, § 45-85.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-87; 1979, c. 315; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.123; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-801. (Effective October 1, 2021) Shop and other equipment.

A. The following items of shop and other equipment shall be guarded and maintained adequately:

1. Any gear, sprocket, pulley, fan blade or propeller, or friction device or coupling that has a protruding bolt or nut;

2. Shafting or any projecting shaft end that is within seven feet of the floor or platform level;

3. Any belt, chain, or rope drive that is within seven feet of the floor or platform;

4. Any fly wheel. A fly wheel extending more than seven feet above the floor shall be guarded to a height of at least seven feet;

5. Any circular or band saw or planer;

6. Any repair pit, including when the pit is not in use;

7. Any counterweight; and

8. Any mine fan, including the approach to any mine fan.

B. No machinery shall be repaired or serviced while the machinery is in motion; however, this prohibition shall not apply where a safe remote device is used.

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

D. Each mechanically operated grinding wheel shall be equipped with (i) safety washers and tool rests; (ii) substantial retaining hoods, the hood opening of which shall not expose more than a 90-degree sector of the wheel; and (iii) eyeshields, unless goggles are worn by the miners. Each retaining hood shall include either a device to control and collect excess rock, metal, or dust particles or a device providing equivalent protection to the miner operating such machinery.

E. The operator or his agent shall develop procedures for examining for potential hazards, completing proper maintenance, and properly operating each type of centrifugal pump. Such procedures shall, at a minimum, address the manufacturer's recommendations for start-up and shutdown of the pump, proper actions to be taken when a pump is suspected of overheating, the safe location of start and stop switches, and actions to be taken when a sign of structural metal fatigue, such as a crack in the frame, a damaged cover mounting bracket, or a missing bolt or other component is detected. Every miner who repairs, maintains, or operates any type of centrifugal 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, § 45.1-161.124; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-802. (Effective October 1, 2021) Hydraulic hoses.

Every hydraulic hose used on equipment purchased after January 1, 1986, shall be clearly stamped or labeled by the hydraulic hose manufacturer to indicate the manufacturer's rated pressure in pounds per square inch (psi) Every hose purchased after January 1, 1989, shall have the rated pressure permanently affixed on the outer surface of the hose and repeated at least every two feet. Every hose purchased and 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, § 45.1-161.125; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 2. Electricity.

§ 45.2-803. (Effective October 1, 2021) Surface electrical installations.

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

B. Any surface transmission line, including a trolley circuit, shall be protected against short circuits and lightning. Each power circuit that leads underground shall be equipped with lightning arrestors within 100 feet of the location at which the circuit enters the mine.

C. Electric wiring in any surface building 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, § 45.1-161.181; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-804. (Effective October 1, 2021) Surface transformers.

A. Any surface transformer that is not isolated by being elevated at least eight feet above the ground shall be enclosed in a transformer house or surrounded by a suitable fence at least six feet high. If the enclosure or fence is of metal, it shall be grounded effectively. The door to the enclosure or the gate to the fence shall be kept locked at all times unless a person who is authorized to enter the gate or enclosure is present.

B. Any surface transformer that contains flammable oil and is installed near a mine opening, in or near a combustible building, or at any other place where such transformer presents a fire hazard shall be provided with a means to drain or to confine the oil in the event of a rupture of the transformer casing.

Code 1950, § 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-76; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.182; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-805. (Effective October 1, 2021) Underground transformers.

Every transformer that is used underground shall be air-cooled or filled with nonflammable liquid or inert gas.

Code 1950, § 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-76; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.183; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-806. (Effective October 1, 2021) Stations and substations.

A. Suitable warning signs shall be posted conspicuously at every transformer station.

B. Every transformer station, substation, battery-charging station, pump station, and compressor station shall be kept free of nonessential combustible material and refuse.

C. Reverse-current protection shall be provided at each storage-battery-charging station to prevent the storage batteries from energizing a power circuit in the event of power failure.

Code 1950, §§ 45-60.4, 45-82.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-76, 45.1-77; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.184; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-807. (Effective October 1, 2021) Power circuits.

A. All underground power wires and cables shall (i) have adequate current-carrying capacity, (ii) be guarded from mechanical injury, and (iii) be installed in a permanent manner.

B. Wires and cables that are not encased in armor shall be supported by well-installed insulators and shall not touch any roof, rib, or combustible material; however, this prohibition shall not apply to ground wires, grounded power conductors, or trailing cables.

C. Power wires or cables that are installed in a belt-haulage slope shall be insulated adequately and buried in a trench at least one foot below any combustible material, unless such wires or cables are encased in armor or otherwise fully protected against mechanical injury.

D. Any splice or repair in a power cable shall:

1. Be mechanically strong and have adequate electrical conductivity;

2. Be effectively insulated and sealed so as to exclude moisture;

3. If the cable has metallic armor, possess mechanical protection and electrical conductivity equivalent to that of the original armor; and

4. If the cable has metallic shielding around each conductor, possess new shielding that is equivalent to the original shielding.

E. Every underground high-voltage transmission cable shall be:

1. Installed only in a regularly inspected airway;

2. Covered, buried, or placed on insulators so as to afford protection against damage by derailed equipment if it is installed along a haulage road;

3. Guarded if miners regularly work or pass under such cable, unless it is at least 6.5 feet above the floor or rail;

4. Securely anchored, properly insulated, and guarded at its ends; and

5. Covered, insulated, or placed to prevent contact with any trolley circuit or other low-voltage circuit.

F. Any new high-voltage disconnect that is installed on underground electrical equipment shall automatically ground all three power leads when in the open position. Every high-voltage disconnect that is rebuilt or remanufactured after July 1, 2011, shall meet this standard.

G. Every power wire or cable shall be insulated adequately where it passes into or out of an electrical compartment and where it passes through a door or stopping.

H. Where track is used as a power conductor:

1. Both rails of main-line tracks shall be welded or bonded at every joint, and cross bonds shall be installed at intervals of not more than 200 feet. If the rails are paralleled with a feeder circuit of like polarity, such paralleled feeder shall be bonded to the track rails at intervals of not more than 1,000 feet;

2. At least one rail on any secondary track-haulage road shall be welded or bonded at every joint, and cross bonds shall be installed at intervals of not more than 200 feet; and

3. Track switches on entries shall be well bonded.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.186; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-808. (Effective October 1, 2021) Trolley wires and feeder wires.

A. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be installed on the side of the entry opposite the clearance space and any shelter hole, except where the wires are guarded or are installed at least 6.5 feet above the top of the rail.

B. Trolley-wire hangers shall be so spaced that the wire may become detached from any one hanger without creating a shock hazard.

C. Trolley wires shall be aligned properly and installed on insulated hangers at least six inches outside the rail.

D. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be provided with cut-out switches at intervals of not more than 1,500 feet and near the beginning of each branch line.

E. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be kept taut and shall not be permitted to touch the roof or any rib, timber, or combustible material.

F. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be guarded adequately at both sides of any door and at every place where miners work or pass under them, unless they are at least 6.5 feet above the top of the rail.

G. No trolley wires or trolley feeder wires shall extend beyond any open crosscut between an intake and a return airway. All such wires shall be kept at least 150 feet from any active, open pillar workings.

H. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be guarded, anchored securely, and insulated properly at the ends.

I. Trolley wires and trolley feeder wires shall be installed only in an intake airway.

J. No trolley wires or other exposed conductors shall carry more than 300 volts.

Code 1950, §§ 45-82, 45-82.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.187; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-809. (Effective October 1, 2021) Grounding.

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

B. Every metallic frame, casing, or other enclosure of stationary electrical 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. Any three-phase alternating current circuit that is used underground shall contain either a direct or derived neutral that shall be grounded through a suitable resistor at the power center. A grounding circuit that originates at the grounded side of the grounding resistor shall extend with the power conductors and serve as the grounding conductor for the frame of every piece of electrical equipment that is supplied with power from that circuit. A grounding resistor that is manufactured to meet the extended time rating as set forth in American National standard IEEE C57.32-2015 is deemed to meet the requirements of this section. High-voltage circuits extending underground shall be supplied with a grounding resistor of a proper Ohmic value located on the surface to limit the voltage drop in the grounding circuit external to the resistor to not more than 100 volts under fault conditions. Such grounding resistor shall be rated for maximum fault current continuously and insulated from ground for a voltage equal to the phase-to-phase voltage of the system. Every resistance-grounded alternating circuit used underground shall include a fail-safe ground check circuit to monitor continuously the grounding circuit to ensure the continuity of the ground conductor.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-79; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.188; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-810. (Effective October 1, 2021) Circuit breakers and switches.

A. Automatic circuit breaking devices or fuses of the correct type and capacity shall be installed so as to protect each piece of electrical equipment and each power circuit against excessive overload; however, this requirement shall not apply to any locomotive that is operated regularly on a grade that exceeds five percent. Wire or other 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. An automatic circuit breaker of the correct type and capacity shall be installed on each resistance-grounded circuit used underground. Such circuit breaker shall be located at the power source and equipped with devices to provide protection against under-voltage, grounded phase, short circuit, and overcurrent.

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

D. A disconnecting switch shall be installed underground in each main power circuit within approximately 500 feet of the bottom of each shaft or borehole and at any other place at which a main power circuit enters the mine.

E. Each piece of electrical equipment and each circuit shall be provided with switches or other controls of safe design, construction, and installation.

F. Insulating mats or other electrically nonconductive material shall be kept in place at each power-control switch and at any piece of stationary machinery at which a shock hazard exists.

G. Each circuit breaker, disconnecting device, and switch shall be marked for identification.

Code 1950, § 45-82.3; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-80; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.189; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-811. (Effective October 1, 2021) Communication systems.

A. Telephone service or equivalent two-way communication facilities shall be provided between the top and each landing of each main shaft or slope. A telephone or equivalent two-way communication facility shall be located on the surface within 500 feet of each main portal and installed in either a building or a box-like structure that is designed to protect the facility from damage by inclement weather. At least one of these communication facilities shall be at a location where an authorized person who is always on duty when miners are underground can see or hear the facility and respond immediately in the event of an emergency.

B. Telephone lines, other than cables, shall be carried on insulators, installed on the opposite side from power or trolley wires, and insulated adequately where they cross power or trolley wires.

C. Lightning arrestors shall be provided at each point where a telephone circuit enters the mine and at each telephone on the surface. Where the telephone circuit enters a building or structure, a lightning arrestor is required only at the point at which the circuit enters such building or structure.

D. If a communication system other than telephones is used and its operation depends entirely upon power from the mine electric system, a means shall be provided to permit continued communication in the event the mine electric power fails or is cut off.

E. Communication systems equipped with audible and visual signals that become operative when telephone communication is being established between the phones of the communication station on the surface and the underground working sections shall be provided.

F. The Chief shall adopt regulations governing any disruption of communication in a mine.

Code 1950, § 45-82.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-81; 1978, c. 118; 1979, c. 315; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.191; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-812. (Effective October 1, 2021) Electrical equipment.

A. Electrical equipment that is taken into or used inby the last open crosscut or in other than an intake airway constitutes permissible equipment.

B. Permissible equipment that is used in an area specified in subsection A shall be maintained in permissible condition.

C. No electrical equipment shall be taken into or operated in any place where a methane level of one percent or more is detected.

D. Voltage limitations for underground installations of electrical equipment using direct or alternating current shall conform to the voltages provided in 30 C.F.R. § 18.47.

E. Electrical equipment shall be classified as permissible and shall be maintained in a permissible condition when such equipment is located within 150 feet of any pillar workings or longwall face.

F. Any electrical conductors and cables installed in or inby the last open crosscut, or within 150 feet of any pillar workings or longwall face, shall be:

1. Shielded high-voltage cables supplying power to permissible longwall equipment or other equipment;

2. Interconnecting conductors and cables of permissible longwall equipment;

3. Conductors and cables of intrinsically safe circuits; or

4. Cables and conductors supplying power to low-voltage or medium-voltage permissible equipment.

G. Electrical equipment shall be maintained in safe operating condition at all times while it is being used, and any unsafe condition shall be corrected promptly or the equipment shall be removed from service.

Code 1950, § 45-83; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-83; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.193; 1999, c. 256; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2015, cc. 103, 397; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-813. (Effective October 1, 2021) Trailing cables.

A. Trailing cables that are used underground shall be flame-resistant.

B. Trailing cables shall be provided with suitable short-circuit protection and some means of disconnecting power from the cable. Any power connection that is made in other than an intake airway shall be by means of a permissible connector.

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

D. No more than one temporary, unvulcanized splice shall be allowed in any trailing cable.

E. Any permanent splice or repair in a trailing cable shall:

1. Be mechanically strong, with adequate electrical conductivity and flexibility;

2. Be effectively insulated and sealed so as to exclude moisture;

3. Be vulcanized or otherwise treated with suitable materials to provide flame-resistant properties and good bonding to the outer jacket; and

4. If the cable has metallic shielding around each conductor, possess new shielding that is equivalent to the original shielding.

F. Trailing cables shall be protected against mechanical damage. A trailing cable that is damaged in a manner that exposes the insulated inner power conductors shall be repaired promptly or removed from service.

Code 1950, § 45-82.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-84; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.194; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-814. (Effective October 1, 2021) Inspection of electrical equipment and wiring; checking and testing methane monitors.

A. Electrical equipment and wiring shall be inspected by a certified person at least weekly if it is located underground and at least monthly if it is located on the surface. Such equipment and wiring shall be inspected more often if doing so is necessary to ensure safe operating conditions. Any hazardous condition that is found shall be promptly corrected or the equipment or wiring shall be removed from service. Records of such inspections shall be maintained at the mine for a period of one year.

B. A functional check of methane monitors on electrical face equipment shall be conducted to determine whether such monitors are de-energizing the electrical face equipment properly. Such check shall be (i) made on each production shift, (ii) conducted by the equipment operator in the presence of a mine foreman, and (iii) recorded in the on-shift report of the mine foreman.

C. To determine the accuracy and operation of methane monitors on electrical face equipment, weekly calibration tests of such monitors shall be conducted with a known mixture of methane at the flow rate recommended by the methane monitor manufacturer. A record of the results shall be maintained.

D. Required methane monitors shall be maintained in permissible and proper operating condition.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-85; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.195; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-815. (Effective October 1, 2021) Repairs to circuits and electric equipment.

A. No electrical work shall be performed on any low-voltage, medium-voltage, or high-voltage distribution circuit or equipment except by a certified person or a person who is trained to perform electrical work and to maintain electrical equipment and 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 piece of equipment connected to such a circuit, except that where locking out is not possible, such devices shall be opened and suitably tagged by such person. Locks and tags shall be removed only by the person who installed them or, if such person is unavailable, by a certified person authorized by the operator or his agent.

B. A miner may, where necessary, repair energized trolley wires if he wears insulated shoes and lineman's gloves.

C. This section does not prohibit a certified electrical repairman from making checks on or troubleshooting energized circuits 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, 45-82.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-78; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.196; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-816. (Effective October 1, 2021) Underground illumination.

A. Electric-light wires shall be supported by suitable insulators or installed in conduit, shall be fastened securely to the power conductors, and shall not contact any combustible material.

B. Every electric light shall be guarded and installed so that it does not contact any combustible material.

Code 1950, § 45-82.6; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-86; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.172; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-817. (Effective October 1, 2021) Inspection of electric illumination equipment.

Every lamp, extension light, and permissible form of portable illumination, such as a cap lamp or flashlight, that is used for personal illumination underground shall be inspected by an authorized person at least once per week, and more often if necessary, to ensure safe operating conditions. When such equipment is located at the surface, it shall be inspected by an authorized person at least once per month, and more often if necessary, to ensure safe operating conditions. Any defect found shall be corrected.

1966, c. 594, § 45.1-85; 1978, c. 118; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.173; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 3. Fire Prevention and Fire Control.

§ 45.2-818. (Effective October 1, 2021) Firefighting equipment; fire prevention.

A. Each mine shall be provided with suitable firefighting equipment that is adequate for the size of the mine.

B. The following equipment, at a minimum, shall be immediately available at each mine:

1. A water car filled with water and provided with hose and pump, or waterlines and necessary hoses;

2. At least three 20-pound dry chemical fire extinguishers;

3. Ten 50-pound bags of rock dust, which shall be made available at doors or other strategic places;

4. Bolt cutters that can be used to cut trolley wire in an emergency;

5. One pair of rubber gloves that shall be used with each pair of bolt cutters when cutting trolley wire;

6. Two sledge hammers; and

7. Five hundred square feet of brattice cloth, nails, and a hammer.

C. Clean, dry sand, rock dust, or fire extinguishers that are suitable from a toxic and shock standpoint shall be placed at each electrical station, including each substation, transformer station, and permanent pump station, so as to be out of the smoke in case of a fire in the station.

D. Suitable fire extinguishers shall be provided at each (i) electrical station, including each substation, transformer station, and permanent pump station; (ii) piece of self-propelled mobile equipment; (iii) belt head and at the inby end of each belt; (iv) area used for the storage of flammable materials; (v) fueling station; and (vi) any other area that may constitute a fire hazard, so as to be on the fresh air side in case of a fire.

E. All firefighting equipment and each fire sensor system shall be maintained in a usable and operative condition. Each chemical extinguisher shall be examined every six months and the date of the examination shall be indicated on a tag attached to each extinguisher.

F. A sufficient number of approved one-hour, self-contained, self-rescuers shall be readily available, not more than 100 feet away, for the persons involved in the moving or transporting of any piece of off-track mining equipment.

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, § 45.1-161.200; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2015, cc. 103, 397; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-819. (Effective October 1, 2021) Duties in case of fire.

A. In case of a fire, the next inby permanent stopping into the return air course shall be opened as soon as possible in order to short circuit the air and permit close access to the fire for extinguishment.

B. When a fire that could endanger persons underground cannot be extinguished immediately, such persons shall be withdrawn promptly from the mine.

C. 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.

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, § 45.1-161.201; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-820. (Effective October 1, 2021) Emergency response plans; list of next of kin.

A. Each operator shall develop an emergency response plan for each mine. The plan shall include (i) a mine emergency communication plan, (ii) an evacuation procedure, (iii) the identification of waterlines, (iv) the number system of brattice, (v) the location of each escapeway, and (vi) such other information as the Chief reasonably requires.

B. The emergency response plan shall be subject to approval by the Chief or mine inspector. The Chief may require periodic updates to an operator's emergency response plan. Such operator shall comply with the requirements of the approved plan.

C. The emergency response plan shall be posted in a conspicuous manner and location readily accessible to all miners, both underground and at the surface of the mine.

D. The operator shall train miners in the implementation of the emergency response plan and shall conduct practice drills. Records of dates and times of practice drills shall be maintained in the emergency response plan.

E. Each miner employed by the operator who goes underground, and each visitor authorized by the operator to enter the mine, shall have available an adequate supply of self-rescue devices, each of which provides at least one hour of protection and is approved by MSHA. The training related to self-rescue devices shall be included in the emergency response plan approved by the Chief.

F. The operator shall maintain a list of the next of kin of all miners employed at the mine. The list shall be kept at the mine site or at a central facility readily accessible to the mine.

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, § 45.1-161.202; 1996, c. 774; 2006, c. 291; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-821. (Effective October 1, 2021) Reporting fires; response.

In case of any unplanned fire at a mine that is not extinguished within 30 minutes of discovery, the operator shall report the fire to the Chief by the quickest available means, giving all information known to the operator. The Chief, based on such information, shall promptly go in person or dispatch a mine inspector to the scene of the fire for consultation and assistance in the extinguishment 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 the mine inspector shall be final. The decision of the Chief regarding measures to extinguish the fire and protect persons shall have the force of an order issued pursuant to § 45.2-569 if it is delivered to the operator in writing.

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, § 45.1-161.203; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-822. (Effective October 1, 2021) Fire prevention in transportation of mining equipment.

A. Prior to moving or transporting any piece of off-track mining equipment in any area of the active workings where energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires are present, (i) the piece of equipment shall be examined by a certified person to ensure that accumulations of coal dust, float coal dust, loose coal, oil, grease, and other combustible materials have been removed from such piece of equipment and (ii) a qualified person shall examine the trolley wires, trolley feeder wires, and the associated automatic circuit interrupting devices to ensure that proper short circuit protection exists.

B. A record shall be kept of the examinations required pursuant to subsection A and shall be made available, upon request, to the Chief or his authorized representative.

C. Off-track mining equipment shall not be moved or transported in any area of the active workings where energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires are present unless under the direct supervision of a certified person who is physically present at all times during the moving or transporting of such equipment.

D. The frame of any unit of off-track mining equipment that is being moved or transported shall be covered on the top and on the trolley wire side with fire-resistant material.

E. Electrical contact shall be maintained between the mine track and the frame of any piece of off-track mining equipment that is being moved in a track and trolley entry. However, rubber-tired equipment need not be grounded to a transporting vehicle if no metal part of such rubber-tired equipment can come into contact with the transporting vehicle.

F. To avoid accidental contact with power lines, the equipment being transported or trammed shall be insulated or, if necessary, the assemblage shall be removed if the clearance to the power lines is six inches or less.

G. Sufficient prior notice shall be given to the Department so that a mine inspector, if he deems it necessary, can travel the route of the move before the actual move is made.

H. A minimum vertical clearance of one foot shall be maintained between the farthest projection of the piece of equipment that is being moved and the energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires at all times during the movement or transportation of such equipment. If the height of the coal seam does not permit one foot of vertical clearance to be so maintained, the following additional precautions shall be taken:

1. Electric power shall be supplied to the trolley wires or trolley feeder wires only from outby the piece of equipment being moved or transported. Where direct current electric power is used and such electric power can be supplied only from inby the equipment being moved or transported, such power may be supplied from inby such equipment if a miner who has the means to cut off the power is in direct communication with the persons actually engaged in the moving or transporting operation and is stationed outby the equipment being moved;

2. The settings of automatic circuit interrupting devices used to provide short circuit protection for the trolley circuit shall be reduced to not more than one-half of the maximum current that could flow if the equipment being moved or transported were to come into contact with the trolley wire or trolley feeder wire;

3. At all times when the piece of equipment is being moved or transported, a miner shall be stationed at the first automatic circuit breaker outby the equipment being moved. Such miner shall be (i) in direct communication with the persons actually engaged in the moving or transporting operation and (ii) capable of communicating with the authorized person on the surface who is required to be on duty;

4. Where trolley phones are utilized to satisfy the requirements of subdivision 3, telephones or other equivalent two-way communication devices that can readily be connected with the mine communication system shall be carried by (i) the miner who is stationed at the first automatic circuit breaker outby the equipment being moved and (ii) by a miner who is actually engaged in the moving or transporting operation; and

5. No person shall be permitted to be inby the piece of equipment being moved or transported, or in the ventilating current of air that is passing over such equipment, except a person who is directly engaged in moving such equipment.

I. The provisions of subsection H shall not apply to a piece of mining equipment that is transported in a mine car if no part of the equipment extends above or over the sides of the mine car.

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, § 45.1-161.204; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-823. (Effective October 1, 2021) Storage and use of flammable fluids and materials.

A. Each underground storage place for oil, grease, or flammable hydraulic fluid shall be of fireproof construction.

B. Oil, grease, and flammable hydraulic fluid that is kept underground for current use shall be kept in a closed metal container.

C. Provisions shall be made to prevent an accumulation of spilled oil or grease at any such storage place or at any location at which such material is used.

D. Oily rags, oily waste, and wastepaper shall be kept in closed metal containers until it is removed for disposal.

E. No gasoline, benzene, kerosene, or other flammable oil shall be used underground in powering machinery.

F. Every oxygen or acetylene bottle that is used underground shall be secured while in use. When stored underground, each oxygen or acetylene bottle shall be placed in a safe location, protected from physical damage, stored with its cap in place where such storage is provided for on the tank, and secured upright or elevated, whichever mine heights allow.

Code 1950, §§ 45-14.1, 45-43; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-89, 45.1-90, 45.1-100; 1974, c. 323; 1978, cc. 118, 729; 1981, c. 131; 1984, c. 590, § 45.1-89, c. 639; 1985, c. 500; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.205; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-824. (Effective October 1, 2021) Diesel-powered equipment.

Diesel-powered equipment may be utilized underground with the written approval of the Chief. The Chief shall adopt regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. Such regulations shall require that the air in each travel way in which diesel equipment is used, and in any active workings connected thereto, be of a quality necessary for a safe, healthful working environment. The minimum quantity of ventilating air that shall be supplied for a permissible diesel machine in a given time shall conform to the quantity shown on the approval plate attached to the machine. Every diesel machine or piece of equipment shall be maintained in such manner that the exhaust emissions meet the standards to which the machine or equipment was manufactured.

Code 1950, § 45-43; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-90; 1978, c. 729; 1981, c. 131; 1984, c. 639; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.206; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-825. (Effective October 1, 2021) Arcs, sparks, and flames.

A. The intentional creation of any open arc, open spark, or open flame, except as provided in subsection B, is prohibited.

B. Any underground (i) welding or cutting with arc or flame or (ii) soldering, unless conducted in a fireproof enclosure that is ventilated with intake air, shall be done by or under the direct instruction of a certified foreman or repairman. A person certified in gas detection shall test for methane before and during such welding, cutting, or soldering operation in an underground coal mine and shall make a diligent search for fire after such an operation in all parts of the mine where such operation occurred. Rock dust or a suitable fire extinguisher shall be immediately available during such welding or cutting. Any welding operation shall be performed only in a well-ventilated area.

Code 1950, §§ 45-72, 45-82.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-98; 1978, c. 729; 1993, cc. 389, 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.207; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 4. Ventilation, Mine Gases, and Other Hazardous Conditions.

§ 45.2-826. (Effective October 1, 2021) Pre-shift examinations.

A. The operator or his agent shall establish eight-hour intervals of time, each of which shall be subject to a required pre-shift examination. Within three hours preceding the beginning of any such eight-hour interval during which any person is scheduled to work or travel underground, a mine foreman shall make a pre-shift examination. No person scheduled to enter the mine during the eight-hour interval, other than the mine foreman who is conducting the examination, shall 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 each of the following underground locations:

1. Every track entry or other area where persons are scheduled to work or travel during the oncoming shift;

2. Every belt conveyor that will be used to transport persons during the oncoming shift and the entry in which each such belt conveyor is located;

3. Any working section or area where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed if a person is scheduled to work on the section or in the area during the oncoming shift. Such a working section or area includes each working place and each approach to a worked-out area, and ventilation controls on each such section or in each such area;

4. Each approach to a worked-out area along an intake air course if intake air passes by such worked-out area to ventilate any working section where a person is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift;

5. Every seal along an intake air course where intake air passes by such seal to ventilate any working section where a person is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift;

6. Where intake air passes through or by an entry or room to any working section where a person is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift, each such entry or room that is driven (i) more than 20 feet off an intake air course without a crosscut or permanent ventilation controls or (ii) more than two crosscuts off an intake air course without permanent ventilation controls; and

7. Where unattended diesel equipment is expected to operate or an area in which 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 such area during the oncoming shift:

1. In the last open crosscut of each set of entries or rooms on each working section or any area in which mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed;

2. On each longwall or shortwall in each intake entry at the intake end of the longwall or shortwall face immediately outby the face. The mine foreman shall also determine 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) in the intake entry furthest from the return air course, immediately outby the first open crosscut outby the line of pillars being mined, if a single split of air is used or (ii) in the intake entries of each split, immediately inby the split point, if a split system is used.

D. A mine foreman shall make a pre-shift examination of the surface areas of an underground coal mine in accordance with the requirements for pre-shift examinations at surface coal mines as provided in § 45.2-903.

E. The Chief may require the mine foreman to examine other areas of the mine or to 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 located where anyone entering the area would pass. Only a person designated by the operator or his agent to correct or evaluate the condition shall enter such posted area.

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

H. Each idle or worked-out area 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 place. A certified person shall supervise the correction of any condition that creates an imminent danger. The mine operator or his agent shall not pass beyond the danger sign except in cases of necessity.

I. If no person has been working underground before an established eight-hour interval, no person other than a mine foreman conducting a pre-shift examination shall enter the mine until the examination has been completed and the mine foreman reports that the mine is clear of danger; however, miners may enter under the direction of a mine foreman for the purpose of making the mine safe. The Chief may, in certain mines, authorize mantrips to proceed to a designated station underground, from which no mantrip shall leave until a mine foreman reports that the remainder of the areas of the mine are clear of danger.

J. Miners who are 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 a multiple-shift operation, certified persons may be used to make the pre-shift examination for the next or succeeding shift.

L. Immediately before any miner is permitted to enter an area of an inactive underground coal mine in order to take emergency actions to preserve the mine, a mine foreman shall examine such area for gas and other hazardous conditions.

M. In the performance of his duties under this section, the mine foreman shall have no superior officer, and every miner 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, § 45.1-161.208; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-827. (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. Any hazardous condition shall be corrected immediately or the miners shall be withdrawn and the affected area plainly marked with danger signs.

B. During each shift in which coal is produced, a certified person shall examine for hazardous conditions along each underground belt conveyor entry where a belt conveyor is operated. Such 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. A person conducting an on-shift examination shall determine at the following underground locations:

1. The volume of air in the last open crosscut of each set of entries or rooms on each working section and in any area in which mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed;

2. The volume of air on a longwall or shortwall, including any area 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 each location 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) in the intake entry furthest from the return air course, immediately outby the first open crosscut outby the line of pillars being mined, if a single split of air is used or (ii) in the intake entries of each split, immediately inby the split point, if a split system is used.

D. A test shall be made for methane before (i) any electrically powered equipment is taken inby the last open crosscut, (ii) any blasting takes place, and (iii) work is resumed after blasting. When a longwall or shortwall mining system is used, such methane test shall be made from under permanent roof support at the shearer, the plow, or the cutting head. Such methane test 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, a methane test shall be conducted prior to the start-up of equipment.

E. Each idle or worked-out area underground, including any section belt that has been idle for a period of 24 hours or more, shall be examined by a certified person immediately before miners are permitted to enter or work in such area. The person conducting the examination shall certify completion of the examination 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 § 45.2-903.

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, § 45.1-161.209; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-828. (Effective October 1, 2021) Weekly examinations.

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

B. At least once every seven days, a mine foreman shall evaluate the effectiveness of each bleeder system used pursuant to § 45.2-837.

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

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

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

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

4. Each seal along each return or bleeder air course and each seal along each intake air course not examined pursuant to § 45.2-826.

5. Each escapeway, in its entirety, so that the entire escapeway is traveled.

6. Each working section not examined pursuant to § 45.2-826 during the previous seven days.

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

1. Determine the volume of air entering each main intake and 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. Such determination and test shall be conducted 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. Any hazardous condition shall be corrected immediately. If the condition creates an imminent danger, everyone except those persons necessary to correct the hazardous condition shall be withdrawn from the area affected to a safe area until the hazardous condition is corrected.

F. No weekly examination is required during any seven-day period in which no person enters any underground area of a mine. If a mine is idled or is 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 no weekly examination has been completed within the preceding seven days. The weekly examination may be conducted at the same time as the pre-shift examination.

H. A person making a weekly examination shall certify completion of the examination by initials, date, and time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.

I. Any examination of surface areas of underground coal mines shall be made in accordance with the requirements for weekly examinations at surface coal mines pursuant to § 45.2-903.

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, § 45.1-161.210; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-829. (Effective October 1, 2021) Examinations of fans.

A. An authorized person shall conduct a daily inspection of each main fan and of the machinery connected with such fan. The person making the examination shall record such examination in a book prescribed for this purpose or by other adequate means provided to permanently record the performance of the main fan and to give warning of an interruption to a fan. No such 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 no examination was made on the previous day.

B. Any place ventilated by means of a blower fan 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 that lasts for five minutes or more during the shift.

C. Each blower fan and its 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, § 45.1-161.211; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-830. (Effective October 1, 2021) Record of examinations.

A. Any hazardous condition found by the mine foreman or another certified person designated by the operator for the purpose of conducting examinations under this article shall be (i) corrected immediately or (ii) posted with conspicuous danger signs 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. The hazardous condition and the corrective actions taken shall be recorded in a book maintained for such 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 any other miner enters 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 maintained for such purpose on the surface at the mine.

C. At the completion of any shift during which a portion of a weekly examination is made, a record of each hazardous condition, its location, the corrective action taken, and the result and location of each air and methane measurement shall be made. Such record shall be made by the mine foreman making the examination or another certified person designated by the operator. If the record is made by a person other than the one making the examination, the person making the examination 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 maintained for such purpose on the surface at the mine. 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 a hazardous condition, 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 each hazardous condition have been taken. Where such records disclose no hazardous condition, 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 who possesses authority equivalent to that 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 each hazardous condition 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, § 45.1-161.212; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-831. (Effective October 1, 2021) Notice of hazardous conditions.

The mine foreman shall give prompt attention to the removal of each hazardous condition reported to him by any person working in the mine. If it is impracticable to remove a hazardous condition at once, the mine foreman shall notify every person whose safety is threatened by such hazardous condition 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, § 45.1-161.214; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-832. (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, § 45.1-161.215; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-833. (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, each fan shall be (i) provided with pressure-recording gauges, (ii) installed on the surface in a fireproof housing, and (iii) equipped with fireproof air ducts.

C. In addition to the requirements of subsection B, each main fan 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, such opening shall not be in direct line with forces coming out of the mine if an explosion were to occur. There shall be another opening, equipped with a weak-wall stopping or with explosion doors, that is located not less than 15 feet or more than 100 feet from the fan opening and in direct line with the forces coming out of the mine if an explosion were to occur; and

3. In a mine 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. Each main mine fan shall be provided with an automatic device to give alarm when the fan slows down or stops. Unless otherwise approved by the Chief, such device shall be placed so that it will be seen or heard by an authorized person.

E. Each main fan shall be on a separate power circuit, independent of the mine circuit.

F. The area surrounding a main fan installation shall be kept free of combustible material for at least 100 feet in every direction where physical conditions permit.

G. Each mine fan shall be operated continuously except when no miner is underground and such mine fan is intentionally stopped for necessary testing, adjustment, maintenance, or repairs, 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, prepared pursuant to § 45.2-834, before any miner is allowed underground.

H. Where electric power is available, no main mine fan shall be powered by means of an internal combustion engine. However, if electric power is not available or the fan is employed for emergency use, a main mine fan may be powered with an internal combustion engine. Unless otherwise approved by the Chief, such fan shall be operated exhausting and the engine operating such 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, § 45.1-161.216; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-834. (Effective October 1, 2021) Fan stoppage plan.

A fan stoppage plan shall be prepared for each mine. Such plan shall be subject to approval by the Chief or his designated representative. Failure to comply with any requirement set forth in the approved plan is a violation of this section. Each fan stoppage plan 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 all 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, not to exceed 15 minutes. In determining such reasonable time period, the Chief shall consider, among other factors, 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, each face area and any other area in which methane is likely to accumulate shall be examined by a certified person, and if all 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. Such period of time shall not be less than 15 minutes. Thereafter, the mine shall be examined by a certified person before any miner is permitted underground or any power circuit is energized.

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, § 45.1-161.217; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-835. (Effective October 1, 2021) Auxiliary fans.

A. The installation or use of an auxiliary fan in any mine is prohibited without the prior written approval of the Chief.

B. A machine-mounted scrubber and spray fan system may be used for control of coal dust and enhancement of ventilation. Such an installation is not considered an auxiliary fan.

Code 1950, § 45-60.2; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-55; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.218; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-836. (Effective October 1, 2021) Quantity of air.

A. The quantity of air passing through the last open crosscut shall be at least 9,000 cubic feet per minute. However, the quantity of air reaching the last open crosscut in a pillar-recovery section 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 a working face 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 a longwall or shortwall mining system:

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 MSHA.

D. Ventilation shall be maintained during the installation or 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, § 45.1-161.219; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-837. (Effective October 1, 2021) Bleeder systems.

A. Every mine shall have a system, approved by the Chief, of bleeder openings of air courses designed to provide positive movement of air through or around worked-out areas. Such system shall be sufficient to prevent a hazardous accumulation of gas in any such area and to minimize the effect of variations in atmospheric pressure. Each operator shall submit a bleeder system plan that complies with requirements developed by the Chief.

B. 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, and (vii) ventilation controls. The Chief shall not approve a plan that provides for a methane content exceeding 4.5 percent in bleeder air courses.

C. This section shall not prohibit the sealing of worked-out areas in accordance with § 45.2-845. The mine map requirements of § 45.2-542 may be used to depict bleeder system standards specified in this section.

D. Failure to comply with an approved plan is a violation of 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, § 45.1-161.220; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-838. (Effective October 1, 2021) Coursing of air.

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

B. Every entry driven in coal shall be in a set of two or more entries.

C. Every transformer station, battery-charging station, substation, rectifier, and water pump shall be housed in an incombustible structure or area or be equipped with an approved fire suppression system. Each such installation 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 any working place. This requirement does not apply to any (i) rectifier, battery-charging station, or power center with transformers that are of the dry type or contain nonflammable liquid, if such rectifier, battery-charging station, or power center is located at or near the working section and is moved as the working section advances or retreats; (ii) submersible pump; (iii) permissible pump and associated permissible switch gear; (iv) pump located at or near the working section that is moved as the working section advances or retreats; or (v) small portable pump. Such equipment shall be installed and operated only in a well-ventilated location.

D. Any change in ventilation that materially affects 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 a belt haulage entry 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, § 45.1-161.221; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-839. (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 that is properly maintained and calibrated. Tests shall be made at least one foot from the roof, face, ribs, and floor.

B. If a methane concentration of one percent or more is present in a working place; 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, work shall cease and electrically powered equipment shall be de-energized in the affected working place, except for any intrinsically safe atmospheric monitoring system (AMS), which need not be de-energized. Changes or adjustments shall be made to such ventilation system to reduce the methane concentration to below one percent. Only work to reduce the methane concentration to below one percent is permitted. Such limitation does not apply to any other face in the entry or slope in which work can be safely continued.

C. If a methane concentration of 1.5 percent or more is present in a working place; 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 1.5 percent is permitted, and all miners except those required to perform such necessary work shall be withdrawn from the affected area. Electrically powered equipment in the affected area shall be de-energized and other mechanized equipment in the affected area shall be shut off, except for any intrinsically safe AMS.

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

E. If a methane concentration of 1.5 percent or more is present in a return air split between the last working place on a working section and the location at which such split of air meets another split of air, or the location at which such split is used to ventilate a seal or worked-out area, all miners except those required to perform necessary work to correct the problem shall be withdrawn from the affected area. Other than an intrinsically safe AMS, all equipment in the affected area shall be de-energized at the source. No other work is permitted in the affected area until the methane concentration in the return air is less than one percent.

F. An alternative methane concentration of as much as 1.5 percent is allowed in a return air split if the following conditions 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 concentration in the split is continuously monitored during mining operations by an intrinsically safe AMS that gives a visual and audible signal on the working section when the methane concentration in the return air reaches 1.5 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 that is immediately outby the most inby monitoring point or inby such point if the mechanical duster is maintained in a permissible condition and does not adversely affect the AMS. If a methane concentration of 1.5 percent or more is present at the location at which 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 methane concentration in the return air to below 1.5 percent as set forth in subsection E.

G. The methane concentration in a bleeder split of air immediately before the air in such 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, § 45.1-161.222; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-840. (Effective October 1, 2021) Crosscuts.

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

B. Every crosscut between an intake and a return air course shall be closed, except the one nearest the face. A crosscut 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. No entry or room shall 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, § 45.1-161.223; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-841. (Effective October 1, 2021) Permanent stoppings.

A. Permanent stoppings shall be built and maintained:

1. Between each intake and return air course, except that temporary controls may be used in any room that is located 600 feet or less from the centerline of the entry from which the room was developed. Unless otherwise approved by the Chief, such stoppings shall be maintained to and inclusive of the third connecting crosscut outby the working face.

2. To separate each belt conveyor haulage entry from any return air course, except where a belt entry is used as a return air course.

3. To separate the primary escapeway from any belt or trolley haulage entry, unless otherwise approved by the Chief.

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

B. Permanent stoppings shall be built of substantial, incombustible material such as concrete, concrete block, 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 is 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 airtight.

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-59; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.224; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-842. (Effective October 1, 2021) Ventilation controls.

A. Ventilation shall be so arranged by means of air locks, overcasts, or undercasts that the passage of a haulage trip or person along the entries will cause no interruption of the air current. Each air lock shall be ventilated sufficiently to prevent an accumulation 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 incombustible material or coated on all accessible surfaces with flame-retardant material having a flame spread index of 25 or less as tested under ASTM E162 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 that are properly marked so as to be readily detected shall be installed in at least every fifth crosscut in the stopping line separating such entries.

D. Doors shall be kept closed except when a miner or piece of equipment is passing through the doorway. Any motor crew or other miner who opens such doors shall see that they are closed before leaving them.

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

Code 1950, § 45-60.4; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-60; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.225; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-843. (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 that is damaged by a fall 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 that is used underground shall be of flame-resistant material.

D. An accumulation 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, § 45.1-161.226; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-844. (Effective October 1, 2021) Ventilation with air from certain areas.

Active face workings shall not be ventilated with air that has passed through a worked-out area or has been used to ventilate a pillar line. This section shall not apply to air that is being used to ventilate an active pillar line or a room that is necessary to establish and maintain such pillar line.

Code 1950, § 45-60.5; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-62; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.227; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-845. (Effective October 1, 2021) Worked-out areas.

A. Every worked-out area shall be either sealed or ventilated.

B. Where the 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, § 45.1-161.228; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-846. (Effective October 1, 2021) Air quality.

A. All active workings shall be ventilated by a current of air containing at least 19.5 percent by volume of oxygen and no harmful amount of any noxious or poisonous gas.

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, 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, § 45.1-161.229; 1996, c. 774; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-847. (Effective October 1, 2021) Examination of mine for explosive gas and other hazardous conditions.

A. Every certified person whose regular duties require him to inspect working places in any mine for hazardous conditions shall have in his 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. Every miner shall be trained in the operation of such devices. Every miner working inby the last open crosscut shall be certified by the Board of Coal Mining Examiners pursuant to § 45.2-520 to conduct gas testing.

C. Every methane detector shall be maintained in permissible condition. Every methane detector shall be calibrated at least monthly in accordance with the manufacturer's 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, § 45.1-161.231; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-848. (Effective October 1, 2021) Tampering with methane monitoring devices prohibited; penalty.

A. No person shall intentionally disturb, disconnect, bypass, impair, or otherwise tamper with any methane monitor or other device that is capable of detecting the presence of explosive gas and is used in an underground coal mine. If such methane monitor or device is installed on a face cutting machine, a continuous miner, longwall face equipment, a loading machine, or other mechanized equipment used to extract or load coal, as required pursuant to 30 C.F.R. Part 75.342, and such monitor, device, or equipment malfunctions, it may be disconnected or bypassed for the purpose of removing it or the equipment in order to make necessary repairs to it or the equipment. Any methane monitor or device not otherwise required by law may be disconnected, bypassed, or removed.

B. Violation of this section is a Class 6 felony.

1993, c. 247, § 45.1-65.1; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.232; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-849. (Effective October 1, 2021) Allowing persons to work in mine where methane monitoring equipment disconnected; penalty.

No operator, agent, or mine foreman shall knowingly permit any miner to work in any area of an 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 gas has been impaired, disturbed, disconnected, or bypassed in violation of § 45.2-848. Violation of this section is a Class 6 felony.

1993, c. 247, § 45.1-30.1; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.233; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-850. (Effective October 1, 2021) Intentionally bypassing a safety device; prohibition.

A. No person shall intentionally bypass, bridge, or otherwise impair an electrical or hydraulic circuit that affects the safe operation of electrical or mechanical equipment.

B. The provisions of subsection A shall not prohibit (i) a certified electrical repairman from bypassing an energized circuit 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 take such equipment out of service; or (iv) an authorized person from activating an override feature that is designed by the machine manufacturer to allow such machine to be moved to a safe location in order to undergo necessary repairs or be taken out of service.

2005, c. 3, § 45.1-161.233:1; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-851. (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 any active workings that are soon to be worked-out.

B. Where an underground mining operation creates or raises an excessive amount of coal dust into the air, any coal dust on the ribs, roof, or floor shall undergo an application of water or water with a wetting agent added to it or another effective method, approved by the Chief or his authorized representative, of controlling dust to reduce dispersibility and minimize the risk of explosion. Such application or method shall occur within 40 feet of any active workings or such other area as the Chief or his authorized representative requires.

Code 1950, § 45-77.1; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-66; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.234; 1996, c. 774; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-852. (Effective October 1, 2021) Rock dusting.

A. Every underground area of a mine, except an area in which the coal dust is too wet or too high in incombustible content to propagate an explosion, shall be rock-dusted to within 40 feet of every working face, unless such area is inaccessible or unsafe to enter or unless the Chief or his authorized representative permits an exception upon his finding that such exception does not pose a hazard to any miner. Every crosscut that is less than 40 feet from a working face shall also be rock-dusted.

B. Every other area of a mine shall be rock-dusted if conditions are found by a proper inspection to be so dusty as to constitute a hazard. If such conditions are found to exist, the Chief or his authorized representative shall require the necessary rock dusting to make every such area of the mine safe.

C. Coal dust, including float coal dust deposited on rock-dusted surfaces, loose coal, and other combustible material, shall be cleaned up and shall 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, § 45.1-161.235; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 5. Personal Safety; Smoking.

§ 45.2-853. (Effective October 1, 2021) Checking system; tracking system.

A. Each mine shall have a personnel checking system that includes the following requirements:

1. Every person underground shall have on his person a means of positive identification bearing a number recorded by the operator; and

2. An accurate record of the persons in the mine shall be kept on the surface in a place that will not be affected by an explosion. Such record shall consist of a written record, check board, lamp check, or time-clock record and shall bear a number identical to that carried by the person underground.

B. Any mine-wide tracking system shall be maintained in usable and operative condition.

Code 1950, § 45-70; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-97; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.174; 2015, cc. 103, 397; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-854. (Effective October 1, 2021) Protective clothing.

A. Every miner shall wear a protective hat while underground and while in any area on the surface where there is a danger of injury from falling objects.

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

C. Protective footwear shall be worn by each miner while on duty in or around a mine where falling objects may cause injury.

D. Every employee inside or outside of a mine shall wear an approved type of goggles or shields where there is a hazard from flying particles.

E. Every welder and helper shall use proper goggles or shields to protect his eyes.

F. Any miner engaged in haulage operations or employed around moving equipment on the surface or underground shall wear snug-fitting clothing.

G. Every employee shall wear gloves when handling material that may injure the hands or when handling energized cables. No gloves with gauntlet cuffs shall be worn around moving equipment.

H. Any miner who may be exposed for short periods to hazards from inhalation of gas, dust, fumes, or mist shall wear approved respiratory equipment. When the exposure is for a prolonged period, adequate approved measures to protect such miner or to reduce the hazard shall be taken.

Code 1950, § 45-86; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-99; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.175; 2005, c. 3; 2011, cc. 826, 862; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-855. (Effective October 1, 2021) Noise levels and ear protection.

Each mine operator shall provide approved hearing protection to miners. Every miner shall wear approved hearing protection in any area of excess noise levels in accordance with the mine's hearing conservation program approved under 30 C.F.R. Part 62.

1978, c. 729, § 45.1-99.1; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.176; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-856. (Effective October 1, 2021) Smoking materials prohibited; penalty.

A. No miner or other person shall smoke or carry or possess underground any smoker's articles or any match, lighter, or similar material generally used for igniting smoker's articles. Violation of this subsection is a Class 6 felony.

B. Each operator shall institute a smoker search program, approved by the Chief, to ensure that no person entering the underground area of the mine carries any smoking material, match, or lighter.

C. Any person entering or present in any underground area of a coal mine shall, by his entry into such underground area of the mine, be subject to a search of his person, including any personal property that is in any underground area of the mine at any time he is underground. Such search shall be conducted at the direction of the Chief by employees of the Department. It shall be limited in scope to the person and property of the person present underground at the time of the search and shall be for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this section.

D. This section shall not prohibit the possession of equipment used solely for the operation of a flame safety lamp or for welding or cutting.

1993, c. 389, § 45.1-98.1; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.177; 1995, c. 569; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-857. (Effective October 1, 2021) Allowing persons to work in a mine with smoker's articles; penalty.

A. No operator, agent, or mine foreman shall knowingly permit any person in an underground coal mine to smoke, carry, or possess any smoker's articles or materials used for igniting smoker's articles.

B. Violation of this section is a Class 6 felony.

1993, c. 389, § 45.1-98.3; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.178 ;2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-858. (Effective October 1, 2021) Posting of notice.

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

NOTICE:

IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A MINER OR OTHER PERSON IN AN UNDERGROUND COAL MINE TO SMOKE OR CARRY OR POSSESS UNDERGROUND ANY SMOKER'S ARTICLES OR MATCHES, LIGHTERS, OR SIMILAR MATERIALS GENERALLY USED FOR IGNITING SMOKER'S ARTICLES. A VIOLATION IS PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS 6 FELONY. ANY PERSON ENTERING OR PRESENT IN THE UNDERGROUND AREA OF ANY COAL MINE IS SUBJECT TO A SEARCH OF HIS PERSON AND PROPERTY BY OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MINES, MINERALS AND ENERGY FOR SUCH PROHIBITED SMOKER MATERIALS AT ANY TIME WHILE UNDERGROUND.

B. Beginning October 1, 2021, every new sign displayed in accordance with this section shall refer to the Department of Energy rather than to the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.

1993, c. 389, § 45.1-98.2; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.179; 1995, c. 569; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 387, 532.

§ 45.2-859. (Effective October 1, 2021) Smoking in surface and other areas.

A. No miner or other person shall smoke, carry, or possess any smoker's articles, or carry an open flame, in or near any magazine for the storage of explosive materials.

B. No miner or other person shall smoke in or around any oil house, tipple, or other surface area where such practice may cause a fire or explosion.

Code 1950, §§ 45-53.2, 45-85.9; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-39, 45.1-44; 1978, c. 729; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.180; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-860. (Effective October 1, 2021) Portable illumination.

A. For portable illumination underground, every miner shall use a permissible electric cap lamp that is worn on the person. Such requirement shall not preclude the use of any other type of permissible electric lamp, permissible flashlight, permissible safety lamp, or other permissible portable illumination device.

B. Any light bulb on an extension cable shall be guarded adequately.

Code 1950, § 45-33; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-96; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 385; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.171; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 6. First Aid Equipment; Medical Care; Emergency Medical Services Providers.

§ 45.2-861. (Effective October 1, 2021) First aid equipment.

Each mine shall have adequate supplies of first aid equipment as determined by the Chief. Such supplies shall be located on the surface, at the bottom of each shaft and slope, and at other strategic locations near the working faces, as the Chief prescribes. Such first aid supplies shall be encased in suitable sanitary receptacles designed to be reasonably dust-tight and moisture-proof. Such supplies shall be available for use of any person employed in the mine. No first aid material 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, § 45.1-161.197; 1999, c. 256; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-862. (Effective October 1, 2021) Attention to injured persons.

A. When an injury occurs underground, the injured person shall be brought promptly to the surface. Prompt medical attention shall be provided in the event of injury, and adequate facilities shall be made available for transporting such injured person to a hospital if necessary.

B. Safe transportation shall be provided to carry an injured person from the site where the injury occurred to the surface of the mine.

C. The operator of each mine shall post directional signs that are conspicuously located to identify the routes 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, § 45.1-161.198; 2005, c. 3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-863. (Effective October 1, 2021) Certified emergency medical services providers.

A. At each mine, the mine operator shall station at least one person who is a working coal miner and who holds a valid certificate as an emergency medical services provider issued pursuant to § 32.1-111.5 so as to make such person available for duty during any time when miners are working at such mine. Such operator shall utilize enough such providers to assure that workers in any mine location can be reached by a provider within a reasonable time as determined by the Chief. Each provider shall have available to him at all times the necessary equipment, as specified by the Chief, for prompt response to emergencies. Telephone facilities or their equivalent shall be installed to provide two-way voice communication between such provider and medical personnel outside the mine.

B. If an insufficient number of qualified miners at a particular mine volunteer to serve as providers pursuant to this section, the operator may utilize the services of first aid trainees, in such numbers as the Chief determines to be appropriate.

1977, c. 679, § 45.1-101.1; 1978, c. 94; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.199; 2015, cc. 502, 503; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.