Program Policy Manual
METAL AND NONMETAL MINES
METAL AND NONMETAL MINES
IV.G-1 Applicability of 30 CFR 36 to Oil Shale Mines
Permissible equipment for gassy metal and nonmetal mines is approved by MSHA under criteria in 30 CFR Part 36. Certain MSHA mandatory standards in 30 CFR Part 57, Subpart T, require special safeguards for equipment used in gassy mines. Standards 57.22302, .22303, .22304 and .22305 specifically require that only permissible equipment be used in designated portions of such mines. Oil shale mines shall be considered within the scope of Part 36 and shall be guided by appropriate standards relative to Part 36.
IV.G-2 Cameras as Part of Inspection Equipment
Frequently, photographs of the scene of an alleged violation, imminent danger or accident are of great assistance in verifying and correcting the conditions or practices resulting in a viola- tion, danger, or accident. Photographs may also be of great assistance in subsequently resolving differences of opinion between the mine operator and the inspector as to the conditions present at the time of citation. Such photographs may benefit both parties by expediting assessment and review proceedings by providing a pictorial illustration of a violation. Accordingly, when the use of a camera would be necessary or helpful in an inspection, the district manager or subdistrict manager may authorize such use subject to the following special restrictions:
- All non-gassy metal and nonmetal mines. There are no
restrictions on camera use.
- All gassy metal and nonmetal mines. Tests for methane must be performed prior to any use of a camera. If methane is present at levels in excess of 1%, or if the inspector has reason to believe methane is present, only photographic equipment approved for use in gassy mines by the Approval and Certification Center shall be used.
- All gilsonite mines. Cameras are prohibited.
The inspectors should make a record of the physical conditions under which the photographs are taken and the date, time and place of each photograph.
A refusal to permit the inspector to carry a camera into the mine will be considered to be a violation of Section 103(a) of the Act and could also be considered an interference or hindrance of the inspector in carrying out the provisions of the Act. If there is a refusal to allow an inspector to take a camera into the mine, an appropriate citation should be issued, and a record should be made of the reason(s) for taking the camera into the mine. The inspection should then be completed.
IV.G-3 Compliance Assistance Visit (CAV)
Under the CAV program for metal and nonmetal mines, MSHA inspec- tors may make visits to mines in certain situations listed below to point out potential violations without monetary civil penal- ties being proposed, based on Section 502(b) of the Act which directs the Secretary "...to the greatest extent possible, [to] provide technical assistance to operators in meeting the require- ments of this Act and in further improving the health and safety conditions and practices in coal or other mines." A CAV would be conducted only after a request is made by an operator to the app- ropriate district or subdistrict manager. Such requests should be made at least one to two weeks in advance of the desired date of visit.
The situations where the CAV program is applicable are:
- New mines not yet producing;
- Seasonal, closed, or abandoned mines prior to reopen-
- New facilities or new installations of equipment in an operating mine.
The CAV will cover one or more of the following areas as re- quested by the operator:
- Miscellaneous iron installations (guards, walkways,
- Equipment with moving parts (conveyor belts, crushers,
- Mobile equipment (trucks, loaders, etc.);
- Proposed plans and designs;
- Planned training; and,
- Other areas as appropriate.
The inspector, while conducting a CAV, will issue notices of violations whenever he observes a potential violation or imminent danger situation. Each notice will be clearly marked "CAV- NONPENALTY" and will not be included in any fashion in the assessment process. Operators should be aware, however, that regular inspections will be made of the operations once they have begun and that during the regular inspections the inspector will look at all of the notices issued during the CAV to ensure that the conditions and practices noted have been corrected. If the correction has not been made, an appropriate citation or with- drawal order will be issued. No additional penalty, monetary or otherwise, will be proposed solely because of the previous CAV.
The inspector, in conducting a CAV, is to proceed directly to the site of the CAV and is not to conduct a regular inspection of the premises. However, should an imminent danger situation be observed, an appropriate order will be issued.
IV.G-5 Inspection and Sampling Policy for Radiation at Underground Mines
Underground metal and nonmetal mines shall be inspected and sampled for radiation hazards as follows:
- Where radon daughters exceed 0.1 WL, sample quarterly
at full-time producing (FTP) underground mines and
whenever a regular inspection is conducted at intermit-
tent (INT) underground mines.
- Sample for radon daughters annually at all other
underground metal mines and at other underground
nonmetal and stone mines where radon daughters have
occurred in the past.
- Sample remaining underground nonmetal and stone mines
for radon daughters every three years.
- Monitor underground mines for other forms of radiation as warranted.
IV.G-6 Inspection of Mines on Idle Shifts
Inspection of mines or mills on idle shifts shall be limited to places where conditions are practically the same as they would be on working shifts. For instance, escapeways, travelways, explosive and material storage areas, would not be significantly different and could be inspected on idle shifts. At underground mines, shaft inspections could be conducted on an idle shift.
IV.G-7 Inspection of Small Mines
Small operations often do not have the resources normally available to larger mines, and operators or their agents in small mines are frequently themselves working miners. Time devoted to accompanying inspectors often must be subtracted from productive endeavors and may be a financial burden on the operator. In addition, while the Act entitles the operator to accompany the inspector there is no standard requiring the operator to do so.
However, if an inspection is to proceed unaccompanied by the operator or his agent, the inspector shall discuss with the operator or his agent the details of what the inspector may encounter during the inspection in order to ensure the inspector's safety.
To the extent possible, all issues will be addressed during a single inspection so that the number of follow-up inspections for compliance purposes can be reduced to an absolute minimum. This also includes assignment of electrical inspectors and specialists. As far as resources permit, MSHA shall try to avoid scheduling separate electrical, mechanical, or health inspections at small mines.
The close-out conference may be held at a location and time selected by the operator or the operator's agent so long as they are reasonable. Inspectors should make certain that all citations are explained and that the operator or operator's agent is aware of his/her rights to a safety and health conference with the district manager. Abatement dates on citations should be discussed with the operator.
IV.G-8 Jurisdiction Over Alumina Refining Facilities
See Section 3 Definitions, I.3-3, in Volume I of this Manual.
IV.G-9 Jurisdiction Over Mine Roads
See Section 3 Definitions, I.3-2, in Volume I of this Manual.
IV.G-10 Jurisdiction Over Refractory Mills
See Section 4, Mines Subject to the Act, I.4-2, in Volume I of this Manual.
IV.G-11 MSHA/OSHA Interagency Agreement
See Section 4, Mines Subject to the Act, I.4-1, in Volume I of this Manual.
IV.G-12 Operator Responsibility Over Customer Vehicles
It is the responsibility of the operator of a mine to enforce mandatory safety standards on all vehicles entering the mine property. In the area of backup alarms on customer trucks, the requirement could be met in several ways, including the follow- ing:
- Traffic patterns can be established to eliminate the
need to backup.
- Operator personnel can act as observers where trucks are required to backup.
If the loading of customer trucks is being done in a hard hat area, it is the responsibility of the operator to see that all persons in the area wear hard hats. If hard hats are not available to the customer personnel, the following options will meet the requirement of the standard:
- Rules can be established that while loading, the
customer truck drivers must stay in their truck cabs if
the cabs are protected by canopies; or
- If the customer truck drivers must get out of their cabs, designated safe areas must be provided.
IV.G-13 Portable Operations
See Part 41, III.41-2, in Volume III of this Manual.
IV.G-14 Regular Inspection After Fatal Accident
A regular inspection shall be conducted after the occurrence of a fatal accident, except that such an inspection becomes the judgement decision of the district manager if the mine has received a regular inspection within 60 days prior to the accident. The after-fatal inspection may be counted towards the mandated minimum inspection requirement. However, any mine may receive more than the mandated minimum inspections if dictated by underlying safety and/or health reasons.
IV.G-15 Reporting PCB Spills
Under the authority of the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that spills of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) be reported whenever the incident poses a substantial risk to human health or to the environment. PCBs have been shown to cause chronic toxic effects in many species even when they exist in very low concentrations. Well documented tests show that PCBs cause, among other things, reproductive failures, gastric disorders, skin lesions, and tumors in laboratory animals.
Workers exposed to PCBs may show a number of symptoms and adverse effects including, but not limited to, chloracne and other epidermal disorders, digestive disturbances, jaundice, impotence, throat and respiratory irritations, and severe headaches.
Spills in mines most commonly result from damage to transformers or capacitors containing PCB dielectric fluid. EPA assumes that a transformer or capacitor contains PCBs if: (1) the nameplate indicates it contains PCB dielectric fluid; or (2) the owner or operator has any reason to believe that it contains PCB dielectric fluid. If a transformer or capacitor does not have a nameplate, and there is no information to indicate the type of dielectric fluid in it, the transformer or capacitor is assumed to contain PCB fluid. PCB dielectric fluids may be listed under the following trade names: Askarel, Aroclor, Pydraul, Therminal, Pyroclor, Santotherm, Pyralene, Pyranol, Inerteen, Asbestol, Chlorextol, Diachlor, Dykanol, Elemex, Hyvol, No-Flamol, Saf-T- Kuhl, Aroclor B, Chorinol, Chlorphen, and Eucarel.
As a general rule, EPA does not require that spills involving a single capacitor be reported unless PCBs threaten to enter a water-course. Minor leaks in transformers, such as bushing leaks or weeping, also do not require reporting. However, such spillage or leaking should be stopped and repaired as soon as possible.
If a spill should occur at a mine, the mine operator's first priority should be to control the spread of the spill by damming or diking the leak. Any threat of contamination to water supplies should be given the highest priority. Appropriate personal protection (e.g., impermeable gloves, boots and aprons, goggles, and respirators) must be worn by persons cleaning up spills pursuant to applicable MSHA regulations.
Once the spill is contained, clean up measures can begin. All materials contaminated with PCBs, including soil and debris, should be collected, stored and disposed of in accordance with EPA regulations.
Upon discovery of a PCB spill, the district manager shall be notified immediately. The district manager is responsible for reporting the spill immediately to the National Response Center operated by the U. S. Coast Guard at 800-424-8802 and the Metal and Nonmetal Division of Health. The Coast Guard will inform the appropriate EPA office. The Coast Guard and/or EPA will take steps to assure that the clean up of the spill is properly handled. Prompt reporting of the incident is necessary to prevent the spread of this toxic chemical into the environment. The district manager should offer to assist EPA or the Coast Guard if needed and should request that they keep him informed of the clean up activities.
EPA regulations and other publications are available in the districts. EPA's regulations on labeling are accepted by MSHA as being in conformance with mandatory standard 30 CFR 56/57.20012.
IV.G-16 Second- and Third-Shift Inspections
The inspector shall make sufficient inspections in multi-shift operations to determine that safe conditions exist and that proper work procedures and practices are applied on all shifts.
IV.G-17 Suspected "Foul Play" Felonies
It is MSHA's policy to cooperate with state and local law enforcement officials in all circumstances where a felony violating state or local law is suspected.
If, in the course of an inspection or investigation, there is reason to believe that foul play has occurred (for example, a death or an injury of suspicious cause or a fire of suspicious origin), the following procedures are to be followed:
- The inspector or investigator should consult through
normal channels with the district manager.
- The district manager should contact the Administrator's
Office and the appropriate Regional Solicitor's Office.
- After consultation with the Administrator's Office and
an attorney in the Regional Solicitor's Office,
promptly report the matter to appropriate state or
local law enforcement officials.
- Cooperate with the state and local officials, but
ensure that any evidence which may also be relevant to
a possible Mine Act violation is preserved.
- If state or local law enforcement officials wish to
participate in MSHA's investigation, the matter first
should be cleared with the Supervisory Special
Investigator in the Headquarters Office.
- If only evidence or other information is being shared with state or local law enforcement officials, advance clearance from Headquarters is not necessary, but the Supervisory Special Investigator should be promptly apprised of any such activities or contacts.