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The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) provides a comprehensive range of technical support services to the mining industry. MSHA’s Directorate of Technical Support consists of a specialized group of scientists, engineers, and industrial hygienists who work directly with mining operations to develop controls and comprehensive solutions to resolve workplace hazards and complex mine safety issues. MSHA's technical specialists perform a variety of activities such as:  investigations at mine sites; exposure assessments; laboratory studies; safety-related testing of mining equipment; participation in national mine rescue contests; and providing special on-site technical assistance during mine emergencies.

Technical Support also provides the mining industry with current and state-of-the-art information on mine safety and heath by publishing reports on the latest scientific and technical information, and by regularly sponsoring lectures, seminars, and training courses to promote education and awareness.  MSHA’s technical support services are carried out by the Pittsburgh Safety and Health Technology Center and the Approval and Certification Center.

Pittsburgh Safety and Health Technology Center (PSHTC)

MSHA offers nationwide, direct assistance to the mining industry from its Pittsburgh Safety and Health Technology Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The PSHTC provides technical assistance to the mining industry and MSHA enforcement personnel to resolve complex health and safety issues. The PSHTC maintains a specialized group of trained personnel who offer expertise in the identification, prevention, and control of health hazards associated with the mining environment such as hazardous airborne contaminants (i.e., dusts, fumes, gases and/or vapors); non-airborne chemicals; physical agents, such as heat, noise, and radiation; biological agents; and ergonomic factors. The PSHTC also offers expertise in mine ventilation; electrical systems; roof support evaluations; ground control methods; mine waste facilities; equipment use; mine emergency operations; and many other aspects of the mining environment.

The PSHTC operates an American Industrial Hygiene Association accredited dust laboratory that conducts analysis of respirable dust samples collected by enforcement personnel and mine operators as required by Section 202(a) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act). The PSHTC also operates MSHA’s National Air and Dust Laboratory in Mt. Hope, WV. The National Air and Dust Laboratory conducts analysis of operator and enforcement rock dust samples for the determination of incombustible content. Other analyses conducted by the PSHTC at the request of enforcement personnel include: air gas analysis, organic vapor analysis, free silica, and trace metals.

Approval and Certification Center (A&CC)

MSHA tests a wide range of mining equipment, components, instruments, and materials to ensure compliance with federal regulations (30 C.F.R.) for safe design and construction at the Approval and Certification Center (A&CC), near Wheeling, WV. Testing and investigations performed at the A&CC help to ensure that various mining products will not contribute to an explosion, fire, electrical failure, vehicle crash, or other type of accident. The Center consists of laboratories, explosion galleries, and offices for administrative functions and recordkeeping.

The extensive list of mining products that MSHA must approve, pursuant to the Mine Act and MINER Act, includes: diverse types of electrical equipment, including explosion proof enclosures, electronic hand-held instrumentation, and communication and tracking systems; multi-ton coal loading scoops; electrical cable and splice kits; fire-resistant hydraulic fluids; diesel-powered equipment; vehicle braking systems; conveyor belts; hoses; mine illumination systems; and mine monitoring devices such as methane gas detectors. These products may be used in both coal and metal and nonmetal mines. For more information on MSHA’s technical support programs, contact:

  • MSHA's Directorate of Technical Support - (202) 693-9470

  • MSHA's Pittsburgh Safety and Health Technology Center - (412) 386-6902

  • MSHA's Approval and Certification Center - (304) 547-0400

  • Your local MSHA office. Check your local phone book under "U.S. Government” or click one of the links below to find the district or local field office contact information.

  • Coal Mine Safety and Health District Home Pages

  • Metal/Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health District Home Pages