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MSHA - Petitions for Modification

June 22, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 119)
Page 33323-33326

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Mine Safety and Health Administration



Summary of Decisions Granting in Whole or in Part Petitions for Modification

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Notice of affirmative decisions issued by the Administrators for Coal Mine Safety and Health and Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health on petitions for modification of the application of mandatory safety standards.

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SUMMARY: Under section 101 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, the Secretary of Labor may allow the modification of the application of a mandatory safety standard to a mine if the Secretary determines either that an alternate method exists at a specific mine that will guarantee no less protection for the miners affected than that provided by the standard, or that the application of the standard at a specific mine will result in a diminution of safety to the affected miners.

Final decisions on these petitions are based upon the petitioner's statements, comments and information submitted by interested persons, and a field investigation of the conditions at the mine. MSHA has granted or partially granted the requests for modification submitted by the petitioners listed below. In some instances, the decisions are conditioned upon compliance with stipulations stated in the decision. The cite following "FR Notice:'' refers to the issue of the Federal Register where MSHA published the notice that the petitioner was seeking a modification.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Petitions and copies of the final decisions are available for examination by the public in the Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, Room 627, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22203. Contact Barbara Barron at 703-235-1910.

Dated: June 16, 1999.
Carol J. Jones,
Acting Director, Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances.
Affirmative Decisions on Petitions for Modification

Docket No.: M-98-011-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 11697.
Petitioner: FKZ Coal, Inc.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1100-2.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use only portable fire extinguishers to replace existing requirements where rock dust, water cars, and other water storage are not practical considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the No. 1 Slope Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-022-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 18232.
Petitioner: Consolidation Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.503.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use a spring-loaded metal locking device instead of padlocks for securing battery-charging plugs to machine-mounted battery receptacles on permissible, mobile, battery-powered scoop cars considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Rend Lake Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-028-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 29034.
Petitioner: Lodestar Energy.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.503.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use 750 feet of No. 6 cable on Fletcher single boom roof bolters considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Baker Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-030-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 29034.
Petitioner: Lone Mountain Processing, Inc.

[[Page 33324]]


Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.350.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use belt air to ventilate active working places and to install a low-level carbon monoxide detection system as an early warning fire detection system in belt entries considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Darby Fork No. 1 and Huff Creek Mine No. 1 with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-031-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 29034.
Petitioner: Freeman United Coal Mining Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use 2,400 volt A.C. cables and equipment inby the last open crosscut within 150 feet of gob areas so that they can be used to power continuous mining equipment considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Crown II Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-032-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 29034.
Petitioner: Mettiki Coal Corporation.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use 4,300 volt cables on high-voltage longwall electric equipment used within 150 feet from pillar workings (longwall gob) considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Mettiki Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-035-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 29034.
Petitioner: Lone Mountain Processing, Inc.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1103-4.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use belt air to ventilate active working places and to install a low-level carbon monoxide detection system as an early warning fire detection system considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Darby Fork Mine No. 1 with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-037-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 29035.
Petitioner: CONSOL of Kentucky, Inc.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1101-8.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use a single line of automatic sprinklers for its fire protection system on the main and secondary belt conveyors at the Motts Branch Mine considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Motts Branch Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-044-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 41598.
Petitioner: Joliett Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.335.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to construct seals using wooden materials of moderate size and weight due to the difficulty in accessing previously driven headings and breasts containing inaccessible abandoned workings to use; a design criteria in the 10 psi range; and to install the water trap in the gangway seal and sampling tube in the monkey seal for seals installed in pairs considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the No. 3 Vein Slope Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-045-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 41598.
Petitioner: Joliett Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.360.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to visually examine each seal for physical damage from the slope gunboat during the pre-shift examination after an air quality reading is taken inby the intake portal and to test for the quantity and quality of air at the intake air split locations off the slope in the gangway portion of the working considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the No. 3 Vein Slope Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-046-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 41598.
Petitioner: Joliett Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.364 .
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to examine the intake haulage slope and primary escapeway areas from the gunboat/slope car with an alternative air quality evaluation at the section's intake level, and to travel and thoroughly examine these areas for hazardous conditions once a month considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Mine No. 3 Vein Slope Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-048-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 41598.
Petitioner: Joliett Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1100-2.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use only portable fire extinguishers to replace existing requirements where rock dust, water cars, and other water storage is not practical considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the No. 3 Vein Slope Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-049-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 41598.
Petitioner: Joliett Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1200.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use cross-sections instead of contour lines, limiting the mapping of mines above or below this mine to those within 100 feet of the vein being mined considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the No. 3 Vein Slope Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-050-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 41598.
Petitioner: Joliett Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1202-1.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to revise and supplement mine maps annually instead of every 6 months, as required, and to update maps daily by hand notations considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the No. 3 Vein Slope Mine.

Docket No.: M-98-051-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 41598.
Petitioner: Webster County Coal Corporation.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.364.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to establish two continuous monitoring stations to continuously monitor for methane and oxygen; to have an audible alarm signal at a surface location where a responsible person would be on duty at all times while miners are underground, and to train this person in the proper procedures for handling the monitoring system if immediate action is necessary in the event of an emergency or malfunction; to have a certified person check the monitoring stations weekly for air quantity and direction; and to have the results of the check recorded in a book that would be maintained on the surface considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Dotiki Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-053-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 44291.
Petitioner: Primrose Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1400.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use a slope conveyance (gunboat) in transporting persons without installing safety catches or other no less effective devices but instead use increased rope strength and secondary safety rope connection in place of such devices considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Buck Mountain Vein Slope Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-058-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 44291.
Petitioner: Rustler Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1405.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use bar and pin, or link and pin couplers on underground haulage equipment considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Archard Slope Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-059-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 44291.
Petitioner: CONSOL of Kentucky, Inc.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1101-8.

[[Page 33325]]


Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use a single line of automatic sprinklers for its fire protection system on main and secondary belt conveyors in the Big Springs No. 1 Mine, and to have the automatic sprinklers located not more than 10 feet apart so that the discharge of water would extend over the belt drive, belt take-up, electrical control, and gear reducing unit considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Big Springs No. 17 Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-068-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 45865.
Petitioner: Jewell Smokeless Coal Corporation.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 77.214.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to construct a refuse bench fill in an area containing abandoned mine openings considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Dominion Mine No. 25 with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-071-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 45866.
Petitioner: Mettiki Coal Corporation.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.804.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use specially designed high-voltage cables for longwall mining equipment, and to use cables that would be MSHA accepted as flame-resistant and used only for high-voltage longwall equipment; and to train miners performing electrical maintenance on high-voltage cables on the longwall to safely install, splice, and repair the specially designed high-voltage cables considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Mettiki Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-072-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 45866.
Petitioner: Independence Coal Company, Inc.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1700.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to plug oil and gas wells using specific procedures outlined in the petition for modification considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Justice No. 1 Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-075-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 48765.
Petitioner: The Kedco, Inc.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.503 (18.41(f)).
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to replace a padlock on battery plug connectors with a threaded ring and a spring loaded device on mobile battery-powered machines to prevent the plug connector from accidently disengaging while under load considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the No. 2 Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-079-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 50603.
Petitioner: Independence Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use high-voltage longwall mining equipment and that the nominal voltage of the longwall power circuit(s) would not exceed 4,160 volts considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Justice No. 1 Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-083-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 58430.
Petitioner: Long Branch Coal.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.503.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to use a threaded ring and a spring loaded device on battery plug connectors on mobile battery-powered machines to prevent the plug connector from accidently disengaging while under load considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for Mine No. 23 with conditions.

Docket No.: M-97-049-C.
FR Notice: 62 FR 29371.
Petitioner: Island Creek Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.364.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to monitor the water level by a float and if the water level goes away indicating a problem with the seal below water, a set of contacts will close sounding an alarm in the mine-wide monitoring system on the surface; to check the water level each production day; to establish two check points to monitor the affected area; to maintain these check points in a safe condition; to have a certified person test these check points on a weekly basis for methane and the quantity of air; and to have the person making the tests place his/her initials, date, and time in a record book kept on the surface and made available for inspection by interested persons considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Ohio No. 11 Mine with conditions for continuous monitoring using intrinsically safe sensors installed as part of the mines AMS and weekly evaluation for methane and oxygen content of the air ventilating the flooded mine seals No. 1 (Old Supply Slope) and No. 2 (Old Belt Slope).

Docket No.: M-97-092-C.
FR Notice: 62 FR 46379.
Petitioner: Peabody Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.364.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to monitor methane and oxygen concentrations and the volume of air at the locations and frequency specified in the petition; to have trained and certified persons conduct the monitoring; and to record the results of the monitoring in a book to be maintained on the surface of the mine considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Camp No. 11 Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-97-128-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 2698.
Petitioner: Jim Walter Resources, Inc.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to amend the Decision and Order Granting Petition for Modification No. M-85-045-C is granted. The Assistant Secretary had granted a modification of 30 C.F.R. 75.1002. The amendment states that where high-voltage cable that moves during normal operation of the longwall is damaged to the extent that any metallic component of the cable is damaged, the cable shall be repaired and the outer jacket of such repair shall be vulcanized with flame-resistant material. Granted for the No. 5 Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-97-129-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 2698.
Petitioner: Jim Walter Resources, Inc.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to amend the Decision and Order Granting Petition for Modification No. M-97-129-C is granted. The Assistant Secretary had granted a modification of 30 CFR 75.1002. The amendment states that where high-voltage cable that moves during normal operation of the longwall is damaged to the extent that any metallic component of the cable is damaged, the cable shall be repaired and the outer jacket of such repair shall be vulcanized with flame- resistant material. Granted for the No. 7 Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-97-148-C.
FR Notice: 63 FR 5972.
Petitioner: Mountain Coal Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.1002.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to amend the Decision and Order Granting Petition for Modification No. M-95-183-C is granted. The Assistant Secretary had granted a modification of 30 CFR 75.1002. The petitioner requests that stipulation No. 4 be revised to remove the reference to permissible equipment and to clarify that only the non- permissible equipment being used for purposes of the petition be inspected weekly since the petition is to allow the use of non- permissible equipment for testing and diagnostics purposes within 150 feet of pillar workings considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the No. 7 Mine with conditions.

[[Page 33326]]



Docket No.: M-94-166-C.
FR Notice: 59 FR 67735.
Petitioner: Energy West Mining Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 75.350.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner request amendments of specific terms and conditions addressing the use of an early warning fire detection system two entry longwall mining systems ventilated with belt air considered acceptable alternative method. Amended for the Trail Mountain Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-002-M.
FR Notice: 63 FR 41599.
Petitioner: Chemical Lime Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 56.6306.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to load explosives to within one hole of the hole being drilled during the drilling cycle of overburden removal considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the O'Neal Quarry Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-98-004-M.
FR Notice: 63 FR 45866.
Petitioner: Hecla Mining Company.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 49.8(b).
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to conduct 5 10 hour training sessions annually with a minimum of 12 \1/2\ hours spent under oxygen considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Rosebud Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-95-017-M.
FR Notice: 61 FR 8307.
Petitioner: Swenson Granite Company, Inc.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 56.19003.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to amend the Decision and Order Granting Petition for Modification No. M-95-17-M is granted. The Assistant Secretary had granted a modification of 30 C.F.R. 56.19003. The petitioner requests that stipulation No. 4 be revised to be in agreement with revised condition No. 2. Granted for the Gray Quarry Mine with conditions.

Docket No.: M-94-042-M.
FR Notice: 59 FR 55298.
Petitioner: Specialty Minerals, Inc.
Regulation Affected: 30 CFR 56.13020.
Summary of Findings: Petitioner's proposal to establish blow-off stations at various locations in the plant where employees can clean their cloths with forced or compassed air that has an OSHA approved nozzle with pressure not greater than 2 to 6 psi at normal average line pressure considered acceptable alternative method. Granted for the Marble Canyon Mine with conditions.

[FR Doc. 99-15874 Filed 6-21-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 1510-43-P

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