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MSHA News Release No. 95-025
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: (703) 235-1452

June 29, 1995

MSHA ISSUES SUMMER SAFETY ALERT FOR ANTHRACITE COAL MINES

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has launched a summer alert campaign directed to all operators of anthracite coal mines.

"Underground anthracite coal mines have a harder time maintaining minimum air quantity requirements in the working places during the hot summer days than during winter," said J. Davitt McAteer, assistant labor secretary for mine safety and health.

"The higher temperatures and greater concentration of moisture in the air affect the mine's ventilation system, increasing the resistance to air flow," McAteer said.

Inadequate ventilation in an underground mine can result in a buildup of methane gas, which can lead to a mine explosion. McAteer urged anthracite coal mine operators to heed the following preventive measures during the summer months:

- Know your mine's ventilation plan and escapeways.

- Always maintain adequate mine ventilation and make thorough preshift, on-shift and weekly checks for methane and other hazards.

- Because the temperature increase on a hot summer day will reduce the volume of air on the working section, additional air measurements should be taken on the working section after the preshift examination.

- Always maintain face ventilation control devices and ventilation controls such as stoppings to prevent methane accumulations throughout the mine.

- Communicate changing mine conditions to one another during each shift.

- Conduct a thorough search program to prevent smoking materials from entering the mine.

- Never smoke in the mine.

Anthracite coal mine operators with further suggestions on the summer alert campaign should contact MSHA's District 1 office at (717) 826-6321.