30 CFR § 49.13
Alternative mine rescue capability for small and remote
(a) If an underground mine is small and remote, an operator may
provide for an alternative mine rescue capability consistent with
statutory requirements. For the purposes of this subpart only,
consideration for small and remote shall be given where the total
underground employment of the operator's mine and any surrounding
mine(s) within 1 hour ground travel time of the operator's mine is less
(b) An application for alternative mine rescue capability shall be
submitted to the District Manager for the district in which the mine is
located for review and approval.
(c) Each application for an alternative mine rescue capability
(1) The number of miners employed underground at the mine on each
(2) The location of the designated mine rescue station serving the
(3) The total underground employment of mines within 1 hour ground
travel time of the operator's mine;
(4) The operator's mine fire, ground, and roof control history;
(5) The operator's established escape and evacuation plan;
(6) A statement by the operator evaluating the usefulness of
additional refuge chambers to supplement those which may exist;
(7) A statement by the operator as to the number of miners willing
to serve on a mine rescue team;
(8) The operator's alternative plan for assuring that a suitable
mine rescue capability is provided at all times when miners are
(9) Other relevant information about the operator's mine which may
be requested by the District Manager.
(d) A copy of the operator's application shall be posted at the
mine. Where a miners' representative has been designated, the operator
shall also provide the representative with a copy of the application.
(e) In determining whether to approve an application for
alternative compliance, the District Manager shall consider:
(1) The individual circumstances of the small and remote mine;
(2) Comments submitted by, or on behalf of, any affected miner; and
(3) Whether the alternative mine rescue plan provides a suitable
rescue capability at the operator's mine.
(f) Where alternative compliance is approved by MSHA, the operator
shall adopt the alternative plan and post a copy of the approved plan
(with appropriate MSHA mine emergency telephone numbers) at the mine
for the miners' information. Where a miners' representative has been
designated, the operator shall also provide the representative with a
copy of the approved plan.
(g) The operator shall notify the District Manager of any changed
condition or factor materially affecting information submitted in the
application for alternative mine rescue capability.
(h)(1) An approved plan for alternative mine rescue capability
shall be subject to revocation or modification for cause by MSHA, where
it is determined that a condition or factor has changed which would
materially alter the operator's mine rescue capability. If such action
is contemplated, the operator will be notified, and given an
opportunity to be heard before the appropriate District Manager.
(2) If an application for alternative compliance is denied or
revoked, the District Manager shall provide the reason for such denial
or revocation in writing to the operator. The operator may appeal this
decision in writing to the Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and