Press Archive


27 January 2014 - NOTICE: COMMENT PERIOD

To: All persons interested in Rules and Regulations constructed by the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety
From: Joel L. Watts, Administrator – BCMH&S

Subject: 36.55 – Rules Governing Haulage Safety Generally: Proximity Detection Systems Required; Use of Cameras on Section Equipment; Pre-Operation Equipment Checks Expanded; Machine Operators to Check Haulage Routes; Machine Operators To Sound Warning Devices; Reflective Clothing Required; Strobe lights, extension rods (pogo sticks) or cones to be Used at Hazardous Work Sites; The Director Shall Expedite Approval of Extended Mining Plans; Industry-Wide Regulatory Training; Other Section Haulage Safety Provisions
Authority: §22A-6-4

The Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety is created pursuant to WV Code  §22A-6-1

At the 16 November 2013 meeting of the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety, the Health and Safety Administrator was directed twice to write rules towards the use of proximity detectors and other avenues of safety in underground coal mines. On 12 December 2013, in response to two fatalities, the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety voted to pursue rulemaking to prevent the reoccurrence of similar fatalities and to include based on the maturity of the technology, the use of proximity detection equipment. 

A public subcommittee of the Board met 6 January 2014 to finalize a draft proposed rule which was in turn presented at the 16 January 2014 meeting of the Board. At this time, the Board, after offering several amendments and after due consideration of all viewpoints, voted to submit the attached rule for public comment. 

The proposed rule sets forth a more comprehensive approach to underground haulage accidents by requiring the following:   

·  Proximity detection systems on all “newly purchased” place-change continuous miners within 6 months following the effective date of the rule and all rebuilt place-change miners within 12 months of the effective date of this rule;

·  Proximity detection systems on all existing place-change continuous miners within 36 months of the effective date of this rule;

·  Cameras or proximity detection systems on scoop cars and battery-powered section haulage equipment within 36 months of the effective date of this rule;

·  The Office of Miners’ Health Safety & Training is obligated to visit each mine in the state and to host regional workshops to discuss the new requirements and disseminate information on Proximity devices and the use of cameras on underground equipment;

·  Individual machine operators are to ensure their personal safety and the safety of the equipment entrusted to them and others who may be working in the same area of a mine by performing equipment inspections, checking roadways and sounding alarms.

·  A minimum of 100 square inches of reflective or highly visible clothing to be worn by all underground employees.

·  The use of strobes lights, warning cones or extension rods are to be used at hazardous work sites

·  Places a responsibility of the OMHST Director to seek to commence the expeditious approval of extended-cut mining plans with MSHA to reduce instances of unnecessary equipment moves underground;

·  Restates a number of underground haulage safety provisions found in various rules currently in effect (section 13); and

·  Mine site safety meetings to review the provisions of the rule.

The Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety is asking for any all comments related to this technology and other avenues of underground haulage safety to be submitted to the Health and Safety Administrator no later than close of business 28 February 2014. 

Further, the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety specifically desires comments related to the possible inclusion of a strobe light on shuttle cars. 

All comments related to this rules are to be submitted via one of the following:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax: 304.558.1224

Or, you may mail them to:

Joel L. Watts
1900 Kanawha BLVD East
State Capitol Complex
Bldg 6, Ste 652
Charleston, WV 25301