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71.209 Respirable Dust Sample; Transmission by Operator
For specific policy applicable to paragraphs (b) and (c) of this Section, refer to 70.209(b) and (c).

In addition, when completing Item 10 of the dust data card, DWP's at surface mines and facilities should be coded 001-0 through 099-9, and 900-0 through 999-9 if located at surface areas of underground mines.

71.210 Respirable Dust Sample; Report to Operator; Posting
(b) For specific policy applicable to this Section refer to 70.210(b).

71.220 Status Change Reports
(a) For specific policy applicable to this Section refer to 70.220(a).

Subpart D .... Respirable Dust Control Plans

71.301 Respirable Dust Control Plan; Filing Requirements
(a) These provisions provide guidance to District Managers when considering whether the plan should be approved. They prohibit approval of any dust control plan with which the operator's compliance cannot be objectively ascertained by MSHA (example: roadways will be wetted when the need arises). Each dust control measure shall be stated specifically, so that if not implemented, the inspector can take appropriate enforcement action.

(d) This provision is applicable as long as the approved plan is in effect at such mine.

(e) Full-shift respirable dust samples are to be collected by MSHA showing compliance with the applicable dust standard before dust control plan revisions are approved by the district manager.


Subpart C .... Roof Support

75.209 Automated Temporary Roof Supports (ATRS) Systems
The purpose of the ATRS standard is to minimize hazards associated with miners working beyond permanently supported roof during the installation of roof supports. When this purpose is served, ATRS systems are required to be used. The use of an ATRS system is not necessary in the following three situations as miners are working in supported areas and are not exposed to unsupported roof:

  1. installing roof bolts in an unsupported area with a remote-control roof bolting machine, where the operator does not proceed beyond the last row of permanent support;

  2. placing truss supports in areas where permanent support is already in place, and where no adverse roof condition exists; and

  3. on a longwall face when the face is within 5 feet of the longwall supports.
75.221 Roof Control Plan Information
Fatal roof fall accidents have occurred during pillar recovery operations. Investigation of a few of these accidents revealed that miners were occupying work locations inby the mining machine while coal was being mined or loaded. This practice should be discouraged, recognizing that recently mined coal pillars reduce the amount of support in these areas.

Work procedures and location of miners while coal is being mined or loaded should be incorporated into the roof control plan as part of the description of the mining system utilized during pillar recovery.

Subpart D .... Ventilation

75.301 Definitions
30 CFR 75.301 defines return air as:

Title 30 CFR 75.507-1(a) states that "All electric equipment,other than power-connection points, used in return air outby the last open crosscut in any coal mine shall be permissible except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section."

For multiple entry setups with intake entries on one side, return entries on the other side, and conveyor belt and other common entries in the center, problems have arisen in determining whether or not return air is being coursed in the outby direction over non-permissible electric equipment in the conveyor belt entry. An acceptable method for making this determination is to measure air quantities at a location three crosscuts outby the working face in both the intake and return air courses. Taking into consideration standard anemometer error, if a comparison of these readings indicates a significant variance, a violation of 75.507 may exist.

Sulfur hexaflouride (SF6), tracer gas, should not be used as the primary means for determining compliance with this standard. If after analyzing appropriate intake and return air measurements,tracing clouds of chemical smoke, and examining the section ventilation system, a determination is made that there is a violation of 75.507-1, tracer gas may be used to substantiate the violation.

75.302 Main Mine Fans
Main mine fans shall be installed and operated as soon as possible after the first crosscut is made at drift mines and as soon as connections have been made between shaft and/or slope openings at shaft or slope mines.

75.310 Installation of Main Mine Fans
The purpose of paragraph (b)(1) is to ensure that the mine fan is provided with a dependable power supply that will not be affected by short circuits, ground faults, or overloads occurring in mine power circuits. Transformers or other power sources supplying mine fan circuits may also supply power to other circuits,provided that such circuits are protected in a manner ensuring that any malfunction in the other circuits will cause automatic deenergization of the affected circuit and will not affect the mine fan circuit.

75.323 Actions for Excessive Methane
Section 75.323 specifies actions to be performed for excessive methane. Neither the Act nor the regulations provide that a mere presence of methane gas in excess of 1.0 percent is per se a violation. A violation would exist if a mine operator, upon becoming aware of the presence of excessive methane fails to perform the actions specified in Section 75.323.

75.325 Air Quantity
(a)(3)The name plate quantity of the machine mounted dust collector or diffuser fan is acceptable to meet the requirements of 30 CFR 75.325(a)(3) and 75.371(j). If the operator submits the nameplate quantity in the approved ventilation plan as the operating volume, this is the minimum quantity that must be maintained at all times. If this quantity is not maintained, if the measured operating capacity reveals that the name plate quantity is not indicative of actual conditions, or if respirable dust samples indicate that this quantity is not sufficient, appropriate enforcement action shall be taken and plan revisions shall be necessary.

Paragraph (f) requires that the minimum ventilating air quantity for an individual unit of diesel-powered equipment must be provided. This requirement includes entries under paragraph (f) (3) where diesel-powered equipment is being operated outby the loading point in areas of the mine developed on or after April 25, 1997. Such entries include crosscuts, dead-end spurs and any other area where such equipment is positioned to allow passage of other equipment or personnel, or entering an area to place or retrieve supplies.

The minimum ventilating air quantity for a unit of diesel-powered equipment is established based on the quantity of air specified on the unit's approval plate. The approval plate quantity is based on testing of the diesel exhaust gas concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO) and Oxides of Nitrogen measured as nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The approval plate quantity is the quantity of air that is required to dilute the concentration of CO and NO2 at the tailpipe to the Threshold-Limit-Values (TLVs) specified in 75.322. The TLVs are established to protect persons from adverse health effects from exposure to the specified contaminates. The TLV for CO is 50 parts per million (ppm) and the TLV for NO2 is 5 ppm and is noted as a "ceiling limit" which cannot be exceeded for any amount of time. Since the nameplate air quantity is the quantity of air necessary to dilute the engine exhaust to the TLV limit, it is imperative that this minimum air quantity be provided where the unit of diesel equipment is operating so as to ensure miners are not exposed to hazardous concentrations of CO and NO2. It should be noted that the testing of the diesel engine to determine the nameplate air quantity is performed on a new engine set to the manufacturer's specifications which represents the best operation of the engine.

75.327 Air Courses and Trolley Haulage Systems
The air in the trolley haulage entry, when separated from the belt haulage entry, may be used to ventilate the active working places.

Should conditions develop that necessitate an increased velocity in trolley haulage ways in excess of 250 feet per minute, the mine operator should apply to the district manager for an exception through the ventilation plan, Section 75.371(v), giving in detail the reason for the request.

75.330 Face Ventilation Control Devices
The "area of deepest penetration" referred to in Section 75.330(b)(2), in conventional mining sections, is considered to be the solid surface of the coal bed at the advancing end of the working place, in both uncut and undercut faces prior to blasting. After blasting, the "area of deepest penetration" is the toe of the coal fall before loading starts, and advances with the toe as the fall is loaded.

75.340 Underground Electrical Installations
Underground electrical installations shall be considered to be in a noncombustible structure if the enclosure provides protection against flame spread for at least 1 hour when subjected to a fire test incorporating an ASTM E119-88 time/temperature heat input or equivalent.

The following types of installations, if acceptable prior to November 16, 1992, will be accepted as meeting the requirements for a noncombustible structure required by 75.340:

  1. Installations that are manufactured as packaged units fully enclosed in a metal housing such as:

    1. power centers;

    2. rectifiers and transformer stations that use dry-type transformers; or

    3. transformers filled with nonflammable fluid or inert gas.
  2. Battery charging stations that:

    1. are enclosed in substantial metal housings;

    2. are used to charge batteries that are also enclosed in substantial metal housings; and

    3. remain on the machine during charging.
All electrical components that are nonpermissible or not intrinsically safe, at stoppings or regulators that separate intake and return air courses, must be located on the intake side of the stoppings or regulators.

75.341 Direct-Fired Intake Air Heaters
A carbon monoxide sensor placed at the bottom of the shaft,slope, or in the drift opening which provides continuous monitoring of the affected area and causes the heater to shut down when the carbon monoxide (CO) level reaches 50 parts per million will verify that CO is not entering the mine and that the heater is operating properly. The sensor will satisfy the examination requirements of this section.

75.342 Methane Monitors
On cutting machines, continuous-mining machines, and loading machines (including scoops and diesel-powered machines used to load coal from inby the last open crosscut but not including clean-up scoops), the methane monitor power-shutoff relay shall be connected into the machine's controls circuitry so that all electric motors on the machine (including auxiliary fan motors),all electric lights on the machine (except headlights that are evaluated by MSHA under Part 18 and are installed on diesel-powered machines), and all power take-off receptacles on the machine (except intrinsically safe receptacles) are automatically deenergized when the methane concentration reaches a maximum of 2.0 percent or the monitor is not operating properly. The methane monitor may remain energized.

When a methane monitor is required on a diesel-powered machine,the methane monitor shall also shut off the diesel engine when the methane concentration reaches a maximum of 2.0 percent or the monitor is not operating properly. The methane monitor power shutoff relay shall be connected into the control circuitry of an electrically-operated machine so that it is not possible to defeat the methane monitor by holding or blocking the machine's reset switch in the start position.

When a machine is operated by remote control, a warning device shall be installed in the remote control unit or on the machine in such a location that the warning device can be readily seen or heard by either the machine operator or by the machine operator helper at all locations from which the machine is operated. This does not, however, permit the machine operator to be positioned under unsupported roof or where he or she could be endangered by a sudden movement of the machine.

The sensing device for methane monitors required at the return air end of the longwall face shall be installed in the air current ventilating the longwall face near the return end of the longwall face where it will not be affected by a secondary intake if one is used. The methane monitor power shutoff relay shall be connected so that all electric motors, lighting circuits, and power take-off receptacles associated with the longwall mining installation are automatically deenergized when the methane concentration reaches a maximum of 2.0 percent or the monitor is not operating properly. The methane monitor and approved permissible telephones, however, may remain energized.

Methane monitor deficiencies should be cited under this section or Section 75.503, as applicable. Checks for operating accuracy shall be conducted with the sensor head filter or screen in place. Hand-held methane detectors shall not be used to check the operating accuracy of methane monitors. Enforcement personnel should test methane monitors with a known methane air test mixture when it is suspected that the monitor is defective or improperly calibrated.

Methane monitor readings shall not be used to meet the requirements for methane examinations. Such examinations are required to be made with approved methane detectors or atmospheric monitoring systems if used as specified in Section 75.351. Enforcement personnel shall not use methane monitor readings as a basis for issuing citations or orders.

75.350 Air Courses and Belt Haulage Entries
A district manager may not grant exceptions to these provisions to operators of mines opened after March 30, 1970. The operator should be advised that such requests should be submitted under the provisions of Section 101(c) of the Act (petition for modification of a mandatory safety standard).

Exceptions to this provision may be granted by the district manager in mines opened on or before March 30, 1970, and extensions of belt haulage entries in mines opened on or before March 30, 1970, only when an investigation determines that the conditions in the entries, other than the belt haulage entries,are necessary to provide adequate ventilation to the working places.

75.360 Preshift Examination
Roadways and track haulage ways must be examined 3 hours immediately preceding each shift. This examination must include tests for methane in all high cavities where methane could accumulate.While traveling haulage roads, travel ways, or belt conveyors, if high cavities in the roof are observed, the inspector should look for some method that has been provided for the preshift examiner to make such tests. Examples are ladders, tubes, methane detectors with probes, etc. Lack of some method to safely make such tests would be a good indication that tests were not being made or not properly being made. This could require issuing appropriate citations or orders.

75.371 Mine Ventilation Plan; Contents
Questions have been raised concerning whether the angles at which water sprays are directed must be included in the mine ventilation plan. As stated in the preamble to the final rule, this information is necessary for plan approval. It is not intended that enforcement personnel use engineering instruments to measure precise angles during inspection activities. Rather, the general spray direction and orientation and other parameters such as number of sprays, orifice size, and operating pressure would be determined by comparison with the requirements of the approved ventilation plan.

75.380 Escape ways; Bituminous and Lignite Mines
"The most direct, safe and practical route," as used in paragraph(d)(5) will be determined on a mine-by-mine basis. If the inspector believes that a particular escapeway is not the most direct, safe, and practical route, he or she must specifically inform the operator that another route is more direct, safe, and practical. This should be done by the inspector at the time of issuing a citation by orally notifying the operator of the preferred escapeway route and by noting in both the citation and inspector's notes, the escapeway route which the inspector believes to be more direct, safe, and practical.

Serious consideration should be given to the inherent hazards related to rehabilitation of fallen areas. In addition to the hazards of exposure related to such rehabilitation, other factors affecting whether the operator has set out the most direct, safe and practical route include roof conditions, traveling height,fan location, physical dimensions of a mine opening, and similar factors.

For example, if bad roof conditions are present along the shortest direct route and those roof conditions are beyond reasonable control, then an alternate safest route, as designated by the mine operator, may be acceptable. The presence of roof falls does not necessarily indicate that the passageway would not be suitable for evacuation.

Where coal seam thickness varies to the extreme, the shortest route may be through lower coal, making travel relatively slow and difficult, whereas an alternate route through a high passageway may permit faster and easier travel. Such an alternate route, although longer, may be acceptable. Similarly, an old mine shaft may not be safe for travel because of badly deteriorated shaft lining, timbers, etc., even though it is still suitable for mine ventilation purposes.

Standard development projections will not have to be altered to drive additional rooms, entries, or crosscuts for the sole purpose of providing a passageway to the nearest mine opening.However, the construction of ventilation controls such as stoppings, overcasts, and under casts, or installation of an escape facility, may be required to provide the most safe, direct, and practical escapeway.

75.385 Opening New Mines
The total number of 20 miners allowed in any mine at any one time shall be interpreted to mean that no more than 20 miners (including supervisory personnel) may be permitted to work in any individual shaft, slope, or drift opening until a connection is made. In determining the total number of persons in the mine before a connection is made, the number shall not include State or Federal inspectors, representatives of the miners, or equipment manufacturing representatives.

Only the work necessary to make connections between the mine openings shall be permitted, and any development or other extraction of coal shall be prohibited until the connections are completed.

75.386 Final Mining of Pillars
The instructions outlined in Section 75.385 apply to this provision except that the limitation of 500 feet between the mine opening and working face shall be measured from the bottom of a shaft or slope or from the portal of drift mines to the working face.