30 CFR § 49.3 Alternative mine rescue capability for small and remote mines.
(a) If an underground mine is small and remote, an operator may
provide for an alternative mine rescue capability. For the purposes of this
part 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 two hours ground travel time of the operator's mine is less than
For more information : See MSHA's Program Policy Manual (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 shall
(1) The number of miners employed underground at the mine
on each shift;
(2) The distances from the two nearest mine rescue
(3) The total underground employment of mines within two
hours ground travel time of the operator's mine;
(4) The operator's mine fire, ground, and roof control
(5) The operator's established escape and evacuation
(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
(2) Comments submitted by, or on behalf of, any affected
(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
(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 Health or the
Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health, as appropriate,
1100 Wilson Boulevard Room 2424 (Coal) or Room 2436 (Metal and Nonmetal), Arlington, Virginia 22209-3939.