Directorate of Technical Support
Approval & Certification Center
Electrical Safety Division
The primary mission of the Electrical Safety Division is to conduct engineering investigations and testing of electrical mining equipment to determine compliance with the requirements of Title 30, Code of Federal Regulations (30 CFR) Parts 7 and 18 through 29. Products which meet 30 CFR requirements are issued approvals, certifications or acceptances that authorize the manufacturer to place an approval marking on the product which identifies the product as being permissible for use in gassy mines or tunnels. The Division fulfills this responsibility by performing engineering investigations consisting of analysis, evaluation and testing of electrical components and systems of many diverse products ranging from cap lamps and portable electronic instruments to mining machinery, including continuous miners and longwall mining systems.
The Division also provides technical assistance in response to requests from manufacturers, mine operators, other MSHA offices, industrial safety committees and other Federal and State Agencies. This activity includes: providing assistance to manufacturers in applying for approval, addressing problems with approved equipment in the field, providing training, participating in accident investigations and providing expert testimony in administrative and criminal litigation involving permissible equipment.
In support of its mission, the Division establishes, revises and implements approval programs, criteria, test procedures and techniques. The Division also develops and proposes new or revised Federal regulations. Engineering projects within the Division involve both laboratory and field investigations. The Division is obligated to maintain expert knowledge of advancing technology. This is necessary to enable Division personnel to conduct evaluations of modern and unique products, provide consulting services on research contracts, and serve on Technical Committees. The current trend in the mining industry is to apply new technology to the design of mining equipment in order to improve operation for safety and efficiency and cost effectiveness. This has resulted in requests for approval of equipment that are presently requiring the Division to address technologies such as microprocessor control, robotics, fiber optics, lasers, ground-probing radar, and computer-based mine monitoring systems. One of the biggest challenges in the Division is to maintain its expertise at the state-of-the-art so that these and future new technologies can be introduced into the mines in a safe and expedient manner.
Any questions may be directed to Mr. Ken Porter at 304-547-2030 or by e-mail at Porter.Kenneth@dol.gov