30 CFR § 49.4 Alternative mine rescue capability for special mining conditions.
(a) If an underground mine is operating under special mining
conditions, the operator may provide an alternative mine rescue
(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) To be considered "operating under special mining conditions," the
operator must show that all of the following conditions are present:
(1) The mine has multiple adits or entries;
(2) The mined substance is noncombustible and the mining
(3) There are multiple vehicular openings to all active
mine areas, sufficient to allow fire and rescue vehicles full access to all
parts of the mine in which miners work or travel;
(4) Roadways or other openings are not supported or lined
with combustible materials;
(5) The mine shall not have a history of flammable-gas
emission or accumulation, and the mined substance shall not have a history
associated with flammable or toxic gas problems; and
(6) Any reported gas or oil well or exploratory drill hole
shall be plugged to within 100 feet above and below the horizon of the ore
body or seam.
(d) Each application shall contain:
(1) An explanation of the special mining conditions;
(2) The number of miners employed underground at the mine
on each shift;
(3) The distances from the two nearest mine rescue
(4) The operator's mine fire history;
(5) The operator's established escape and evacuation
(6) The operator's alternative plan for assuring that a
suitable mine rescue capability is provided at all times when miners are
(7) Other relevant information about the operator's mine
which may be requested by the District Manager.
(e) 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.
(f) In determining whether to approve an application for alternative
compliance, the District Manager shall consider:
(1) The individual circumstances of the mine operating
under special mining conditions;
(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.
(g) 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
(h) 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.
(i)(1) An approved plan for alternative mine rescue capability shall
be subject be to revocation or modification 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.